How to prevent most common truck driver injuries

How to prevent most common truck driver injuries

Prevent most common truck driver injuries. If someone tells you that driving a truck is a safe job, he or she probably never drove a vehicle in their entire life.

How to prevent most common truck driver injuries

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Besides serious truck driver injuries that accompany accidents on the road, truckers suffer from muscle sprains, falling objects, equipment malfunctions and much more. The hazardous nature of a trucker’s job calls for careful thinking and serious safety precautions.

The list of the common truck driver injuries includes:

  • Back injury. This is the most common problem that the truckers face when lifting heavy cargo during loading and unloading.
  • Surprisingly enough, many truck drivers suffer from falls. They fall from their cabins or down the stairs when carrying freight. Some truckers report slipping on ice when changing tires.
  • The biggest percentage of work-related trucking injuries come from the road accidents.
  • Driver’s error. The most common cause of injuries behind the wheel is a driver’s error. Fatigue, distraction, and poor training are only a few causes for such mistakes that can turn fatal.
  • Equipment problems. Truckers often get injured due to defective truck parts, bad breaks, and tire maintenance. The reason for equipment problems is usually bad or missed inspections.
  • Improper cargo loading. When the cargo is not loaded properly, the truck can lose its ability to maneuver and handle the road.
  • Weather conditions. Ice, hail, rain and snow hinder the driver’s ability to steer and handle the truck.

Most of the injuries that truckers suffer at work can be prevented. Here are a few things that can be done.

  1. Frequent breaks

Too many accidents happen due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. Taking frequent breaks can help avoid these problems.

Important: Overindulging on caffeine can lead to exhaustion.

  1. Back braces

In order to avoid back injuries, it’s compulsory to wear back braces and use other special equipment for loading and unloading the cargo. Freight handling is not created to flaunt your macho abilities.

  1. Secure loads

Properly secured loads ensure good cargo distribution inside the truck. Even if the distance is short, this shouldn’t be overlooked. Loads can dangerously shift in a matter of seconds.

  1. Reflective clothing

High visibility reflective clothing/vest is compulsory for truckers who travel at night. It can save the trucker’s life when he exits the truck.

  1. Good footwear

Proper footwear can save a trucker from slipping on the ice or falling off the stairs. Good trucker’s footwear must offer maximum friction.

  1. Regular inspections

Insisting on regular inspections, especially before and after long hauls can save a trucker from an accident caused by equipment malfunction.

  1. Wearing a seatbelt

It seems that this simple truth should be in every driver’s blood. But many truckers sometimes ignore the rule. Especially when they plan a short drive.

  1. Jumping

Some truck drivers like jumping from the cabin to the ground. That’s one of the reasons why injuries from falls are so popular. Even the most experienced “jumpers” can slip. There is no need to take a risk.

 

 

truck drivers stay fit on the road

Truck drivers can stay fit on the road?

Truck drivers can stay fit on the road. The road, the freedom, the independence – these are the advantages that come with driving a truck. But when a trucker first gets into the driver’s seat, he doesn’t suspect that an accident is by far not the only hazard waiting for him down the road.

truck drivers stay fit on the road

truck drivers stay fit on the road

 

At one point or another, most truckers develop certain health problems that could have been avoided with the right approach. According to the 2014 survey conducted by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 69 % of the surveyed truckers suffered from obesity (BMI – 30 or higher) and 17 % of them were morbidly obese (BMI – 40 or higher). In comparison, only 7 % of Americans report that they are morbidly obese which means that obesity is a serious health hazard for truckers.

Being overweight can cause severe health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, joint pain, and more. Meanwhile, obesity is easy to avoid. While it’s might be complicated to always maintain healthy eating habits when you are on the road, you can set up a simple exercising routine that will be available to you anytime you make a stop.

  1. Jogging

This is the easiest exercise since all it requires is some space. Spending 15 minutes every day running around your truck or the parking lot can significantly improve your health while helping you lose weight. If running seems like too much at first, you can start with fast walking.

  1. Stretching

Stretching is absolutely vital to truckers who spend whole days behind the wheel without a chance to move some muscles. One of the most effective stretching exercises is a plank. It can easily be performed at the sleeping cabin. Start with 4 sets of 30 seconds and go from there.

  1. Squeezes

You can pump up your muscles without getting out of the driver’s seat and even stopping at a red light. Squeezing muscles on your abdomen and buttocks is an easy but very effective exercise. Squeeze the muscles and hold them for 30 seconds. Then take a break and repeat.

  1. Rope Skipping

Jumping rope is the simplest and the most lightweight piece of exercising equipment you can carry with you. Start by jumping up and down and then try to move forward and backward. Alternate single leg jumps and 2-leg jumps. Do at least 30 jumps per day.

  1. Pushups

This is another exercise that can be done in the comfort of a truck cabin. On the warm days, you can do them outside. Consider carrying around an exercise mat that you can use for exercising on the ground. Start with 10 pushups per day and go on to make 3 reps of 10 pushups daily.

One of the main problems that truckers have when exercising near their trucks is the surprised glances from the people around them. Any time this bothers you, visualize the sympathetic looks you’ll be getting when you try to get your 400-pound body out of a truck.

Stay warm in truck in winter

Stay warm in your truck this winter

Stay Warm in Your Truck This Winter

Freeway Snow

Stay warm in your truck this winter.

If you are not one of those lucky guys who work in states with mild climates, you need to find a good way to stay warm in your bunk during the cold winter nights. Read below for some tips fo stay warm in your truck this winter

  1. A sleeping bag

One of the best choices to keep yourself warm at night is a heavy duty sleeping bag. The stores selling camping gear offer sleeping bags that can help you stay warm even when the temperatures are well below freezing.

  1. A Down Comforter

While a sleeping bag might be a good solution, it can be rather cold when you just get into it. Some truckers don’t appreciate such bags since it takes long to get in an out. A simple down comforter can provide the heat you need to get initially warm. You can either use it separately or with a sleeping bag.

  1. Fleece blankets and clothes

Fleece is the perfect material to keep yourself warm. The main advantage of fleece is that it warms you up immediately and keeps the heat inside. So your best bet would be to stock up on fleece pants, jackets, and socks.

  1. A 12V Mattress Pad

These mattress pads are popular among the truckers who spend cold winter nights in their vehicles. They are plugged into a lighter socket and keep you warm all night without idling the engine. The 12V mattress pad shouldn’t deplete the batteries if they are in good condition. Old batteries might not last all night so you would need to run the engine at least once.

  1. Know Your Company Rules

If you are working in extreme temperatures, check your company’s idling requirements. Most of them allow the engine to run whenever the temperature drops below 20°F. If such is the case, you can purchase a small heater.

Important: If you are using a heater in your truck, get a carbon monoxide detector. It’s not expensive but it can save your life. Don’t place the heater near flammable items.

Other winter tips:

  • Keep hand and foot warmers in your truck for emergencies. If your vehicle breaks down, you’ll appreciate the way they help you stay warm.
  • Keep some food in your truck. You might get stuck at a full truck stop during a blizzard without a chance to restock. Canned food, chocolate bars, bread, water, and soda can be a great help when you are forced to stay in the middle of nowhere for days.
  • If you take any medication, make sure to carry at least a week’s supply with you for the same reasons as you would stock up on food.
  • Buy good boots. They should be water-resistant and very warm. Pay special attention to the soles. They must be thick and provide good traction. One fall can leave you out of work for months.

Before spending the first winter night in the truck, make sure you are fully equipped. However, if you are freezing, there is no need to save idling time. Turn the engine on. Your health is priceless. Hope you had some idea now to stay warm in your truck this winter

 

Cargo Theft

5 Useful Tips to Help You Avoid Cargo Theft

Cargo Theft

Cargo Theft

Cargo theft is a common problem of the trucking industry in the United States. During the third quarter of 2016, the total cargo theft incidents went up significantly. In July, August, and September there were 193 cargo thefts. The average loss of value was equal to $120,536.

According to FreightWatch International, in the third quarter of 2016, California got the first place in the cargo theft ranking. It accounts for 38 % of all incidents. Texas got the second place with 16 % of the thefts. About 75 percent of all thefts took place at the unsecured parking locations. 13 % of the thefts occurred at the secured parking lots and 11 percent at the warehouses/distributions centers.

It’s impossible to completely protect yourself from cargo theft. However, by following a few simple rules, you can significantly reduce the chances of being robbed.

  1. Find Secure Parking Spaces

As you can see from the statistics, most of the thefts occur in the unsecured parking lots. Since there is a certain shortage of secure truck parking in the country, finding a good location can be complicated. You can opt for trying to find a well-lit area that’s not isolated. Look for parking lots or spaces where you can back you truck against a fence or a wall to prevent easy access to the cargo. You can also park you truck tail to tail with another cargo vehicle.

  1. Keep Your Mouth Shut

This might seem rude but it’s one of the best ways to protect your cargo, especially when it’s valuable. Chatting with the guys at truck stops and discussing cargo details over the phone in a crowded area is the best way to give thieves a good idea of what you are transporting. Another simple way to reveal information is to create detailed social media posts. They are often easy to track.

  1. Lock Up

While this is an obvious advice, for some reason, many truckers believe that if they leave for “just a minute”, nothing bad will happen. Experienced thieves can leave you without your cargo in a matter of seconds. So even if you are going out for a quick bathroom break, make sure all your windows are rolled up and the doors are locked.

  1. Listen to Your Gut

When you are carrying expensive cargo, being paranoid is a good quality. If you feel as if someone is paying too much attention to your truck or following you for a long time, don’t hesitate to call for help. At least let the dispatcher know that there might be a problem, so you can avoid the responsibility in case such circumstances lead to theft.

  1. Know the Hot Spots

Most of the thefts happen during the first stop after loading. So you must be extra careful about your cargo when you first stop for refueling, resting, restroom breaks, etc. Plan your trip to make the first stop at least 200 miles away from the shipper’s location. Not many thieves are ready to follow your truck this long. Also be extra careful when traveling in California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and Texas. These states are the kings of cargo theft.

Dash Cam for truckers

Don’t Have a Dashcam? Time to Get One!

Dash Cam for truckers

Dash Cam for truckers

Don’t Have a Dashcam? Time to Get One!

Dashboard cameras have been around for a while. But for some reason, not everyone is taking advantage of them. A dashcam is a small camera, installed on the dashboard and facing the traffic. Basically, it records everything a truck driver sees when he is on the road. A dashcam is not a very expensive piece of equipment that can save you some serious money and protect you against unfair tickets or unnecessary inspections.

Evidence

Dashcam records whatever you see with your eyes and can become your lawyer in situations when your innocence is far from being obvious.

If you’ve been on the road long enough, you know that accidents are impossible to avoid. Even if you are the perfect driver, who never breaks any rules, there are plenty of other people who are much less law-abiding than you are.

One of the most frequent situations is a car hurrying up to get in front of a truck and cutting it off. Then for some reason, the car driver slams on the breaks and the truck can’t stop soon enough. A rear-ending accident is an obvious fault of the driver who’s behind, right? And no matter how convincing you may sound, in 90 % of the cases, a police officer will decide that the accident is your fault. However, if you have a dashcam, you can easily prove who really is responsible.

Security

If you buy a dashcam with a motion-detection sensor, it will activate the recording as soon as it senses any movement around your vehicle. This feature allows you to find out if someone was tampering with your truck and catch fuel thieves at rest stops. You can also get information about vandals and hit-and-run drivers.

Protection

A dashcam offers you a good protection against fraud. If someone claims that you caused an accident when you really didn’t, one of the easiest ways to prove it is a dashcam. It can be your best protector against brake-checking too. While these situations might seem rare, there are plenty of conmen on the road trying to set up accidents to get insurance and truckers often become their targets.

Disadvantages

It’s hard to find a disadvantage of owning a dashcam if you are a safe driver. Some companies might be against installing such a camera but it’s a rare occasion. However, you must remember that if you get into an accident that’s YOUR fault, the footage from the camera can be subpoenaed.

Any truck driver with experience will tell you that a dashboard camera is a good idea and if you haven’t gotten one yet, it’s time to do it. There are plenty of them on the market today, so you are in for some serious research. Make sure to read the reviews before buying one since there is plenty of cheap trash out there. A dashcam is a great way to protect yourself so the time and money you spend on it is definitely worth it.

best truck routes

Truckers Are you Saving Miles or Saving Money?

Saving Miles or Saving Money?

best truck routes

Truckers would you use small roads or express way if you can save some miles?

Trucking newbies, as well as experienced truckers, often find themselves in a situation when they see an amazing opportunity to save a few miles and some time by getting off the expressway and maneuvering through small town roads.

Our inner voice often tells us that breaking a small rule can help us gain a huge advantage, so it’s worth it. My own experience tells me otherwise. The few miles you save by going off the expressway can turn into a complete disaster for the following reasons:

  • Bad roads. By going off the route, you have no idea where you’ll eventually end up. A small town road might not be designed to accommodate your vehicle and you will be forced to U-turn, which is far from being a pleasant experience. If the roads are not designed to accommodate a large vehicle, a truck can cause damage to the pavement. The weight limits didn’t just come out of nowhere.
  • Let’s face it. Cops are not less intelligent than we are. They are more eager to catch truckers on the small roads than race after speeders on the expressways because small towns need money. In addition, a speeding ticket is much more preferable than a fine for entering a “no truck” zone. If you think there are fewer cops on town roads than on the highways, think again. There are just as many or even more.
  • Getting into an accident on a small town road is 70 % easier than on an expressway. People rarely expect to see a large vehicle when backing out of their driveways. Bikers, joggers, inattentive kids – these are the “fun” bonuses you get on small roads.
  • Consequences. The tickets you get for breaking the rules on small roads will eventually lead to:
  • Bad job records – A real killer for your career
  • Increased insurance – A serious toll on your wallet
  • Suspended registration – Job loss

The consequences of an accident don’t even need to be discussed. They can vary from unpleasant to downright scary.

Going to non-approved roads can cost you up to $2,000 in fines and lead to a registration suspension for up to three months. It is easy to do the math and realize that such consequences will cost you much more money and hassle than you will save by getting off the expressway.

Small roads might not always be a way to save time. Traffic on town roads can be much heavier than on an expressway.

We have all broken a few rules while driving. It is hard to avoid adding a little speed or parking for just a few minutes in a restricted zone. However, choosing your battles is an absolute must when you are driving a truck. The consequences of maneuvering on small town roads can be extremely unpleasant for you and damaging to your vehicle.

Food for thought: Did you know that a fully loaded five-axle rig that weighs 80,000 pounds could damage the expressway more than 5,000 cars? Imagine what it can do to a small town road.

 

truck speed limiter coming

Truck Speed Limiter: Is the Government About to Make a Mistake?

Truck Speed Limiter is a huge concern for the government. The government is actively pushing through a law that will require installing electronic truck speed limiters on all trucks over 26,000 pounds. The rule will work only for the vehicles manufactured after the law goes into effect. The regulation can be finalized after the comment period that will end on November 7th. The speed might be limited to 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

Truck Speed Limiter

truck speed limiter coming

The supporters of the new rule are turning to physics and saying that the slower the truck is; the less damage will occur upon crashing. A study done by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 1044 people die every year as a result of an accident involving heavy trucks on the roads, where the speed limits are at least 55 mph.

They point out that if the speed was limited to 60 mph then about 500 lives per year would be saved since the crashes would be less serious. If the speed limit would be set at 65 mph, then over 214 lives would be saved.

The agency seemed to have done a thorough job collecting and analyzing the statistics, but did they ask the truckers? People with many years of truck driving experience believe that the government could be making a huge mistake by limiting the driving speed.  Will the new speed limit for truckers make the matters on the roads worse?

The traffic jams

Now the time has come to forget the physics and turn to logic. What will happen when one truck will try to pass another at a similar speed? The traffic jams will be unavoidable, the car drivers will be frustrated, and eventually some rules are bound to be broken.

The advantage of owning an old Truck

Truck owners will try to do their best to extend the lives of the old vehicles that don’t have an electronic truck speed limiter installed. Can it boost the cost of the used vehicles? It most certainly can. Accordingly, the sales of the new ones will go down. This approach can be rather dangerous since older and ill-conditioned trucks will be filling the roads.

The same speed limit for everyone?

While limiting the speed of trucks, the government is not even considering the same limitations for other vehicles. This can result in a reversed effect. If the truck is running slower than the rest of the vehicles on the road, it can cause a crash situation. A car with a higher speed that’s coming up behind a truck will run into its back every other time. More than 50 % of the truck-car accidents are caused by the cars, not the trucks. So will limiting the trucks really work?

The discussion is underway and the new regulation has plenty of supporters. Chris Spear, CEO of the American Trucking Associations, is fighting against the new rule.

“The various differentials in speed from what this rule proposes and what state speed limits are dangerous,” he said. ““We cannot afford to elevate risks for the motoring public with a rule that does not take into account the danger of differential speeds for cars and trucks.”

But will his efforts be enough to stop the government from making a mistake?

Truck Safety Campaign Launched

FMCSA Launches New Safety Campaign to Promote Sharing Roads with trucks

Give room for trucks - Truck Safety

share the road with trucks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a new campaign called “Our Roads, Our Responsibility,” which is aimed at educating the public about how to operate their vehicles safely around large trucks, buses and other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

According to the FMCSA, there are more than 12 million CMVs on the road, and operating safely around them often means taking special precautions into consideration. The campaign offers drivers the following tips:

  • Avoid driving in blind spots at the front, back and on the sides of these vehicles. These blind spots are often larger than some drivers estimate, so give CMVs plenty of room.
  • In order to safely pass a large CMV, make sure you can see the driver in the mirror before passing or changing lanes.
  • Large vehicles may need more room to execute turns, so give them the extra room to do so.
  • Remain focused on the road and avoid distractions.

The FMCSA urges both commercial drivers and the public to visit its website, which has additional resources and information available.
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Truck Safety – Truck Safe driving, Truck Safety when driving, Truck Safety on road

Ford Full Autonomous/Driverless car in 2021

ford-driverless-car-2021

ford-driverless-car-2021

FORD TARGETS FULLY AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE FOR RIDE SHARING IN 2021; INVESTS IN NEW TECH COMPANIES, DOUBLES SILICON VALLEY TEAM

 

 

  • Ford announces intention to deliver high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing in 2021
  • Ford investing in or collaborating with four startups on autonomous vehicle development
  • Company also doubling Silicon Valley team and more than doubling Palo Alto campus

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016 – Ford today announces its intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

To get there, the company is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development, doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus.

“The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

Fields says he’s not closing the door on potential partnerships. Ford and Baidu Inc., the Chinese Internet behemoth, announced that both companies jointly invested $150 million in Velodyne, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in sensors. Already Silicon Valley and the auto industry have been in a dating frenzy looking for long-term partners to help develop the technology behind a self-driving car. Volkswagen spent $300 million to get a piece of ride-hailing company Uber’s European rival Gett. General Motors spent $1 billion to purchase Cruise Automation, as well as investing in ride-hire service Lyft. Meanwhile, Toyota invested in Uber.

Ford’s engineers may be confident, but are riders? The announced plan would have cars without not only drivers but obvious vehicle controls. Visintainer says he understands the public’s uneasiness about autonomy. He says the company is looking for ways to convince the public that self-driving cars can be safe. “It’s going to be an education and a journey, being transparent and open about the progress we’re making, and how we’re doing is a key part of that.”

Analysts say discussing the technology is a move to placate the concerns of Wall Street. General Motors, Google and some of Ford’s other competitors have spent the year making announcements and investments in advanced technology. Michelle Krebs with autotrader.com says GM has been grabbing all the headlines recently “and Ford can’t be happy about that, especially as some Wall Street analysts have wondered if Ford is falling behind in future mobility.” Ford’s Mark Fields has said Ford has been setting the pace.

 

Read More

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/17/490406911/ford-looks-to-a-fleet-of-driverless-cars

DOT Brake Safety Week Coming in September

Truck Brake Inspection week sept 11 - 17 2016

Truck Brake Inspection week sept 11 – 17 2016

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Association will be holding its annual brake safety inspection campaign the week of Sept. 11-17, 2016. The event is designed to promote brake safety in commercial vehicles and will focus on brake system compliance.

Commercial vehicle operators should be prepared for inspections by law enforcement officials to include checks for loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake-system components.

If inspectors find defective or out-of-service brakes, those vehicles will be placed out of service.

During the week of Sept. 11-17, 2016, law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and anti-lock braking system (ABS) violations as part of CVSA’s Brake Safety Week, an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial motor vehicle (CMV) brake safety throughout North America.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to driver and public safety. ABS systems help the vehicle, and thus the driver, maintain control in certain situations, which reduces the risk of some types of crashes.

Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage (representing 43 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2015, which focused on inspections of both vehicles and drivers.

Inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. ABS malfunction indicator lamps are also checked. Inspectors will inspect brake components and measure pushrod stroke where applicable. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service.

Many inspectors will be conducting Level I Inspections, and in the 10 jurisdictions currently using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA out-of-service criteria.

Outreach and educational efforts by CMV inspectors, participating motor carriers and others in the industry will also take place during Brake Safety Week and are integral to the success of the campaign.

More than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the program’s inception in 1998.

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).