May. 13, 2013
TIRES will. If you haven’t already saved the date for the Washington Trucking Associations’ Truck Driving Championships and Step Van Driving Championships, now is the time.
You can rock the event as a contestant. Winners in each of the nine categories will go on to compete in the national convention. So, this is the time to strut your stuff as a safe driver! Here’s the sign-up sheet: http://www.wtatrucking.com/documents/TDC%202013%20Entry%20-%20Release%20Form.pdf. It must be in by June 4th.
This is a fantastic event to share with the family. You don’t have to compete to enjoy the show as a spectator or volunteer. For questions about volunteering, contact Mike Southards at (800) 732-9019.
The event is on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the
Boeing Company Space Center parking lot
20403 68th Ave South
We really hope to see you there!
More information: http://www.wtatrucking.com/reader.aspx?pg=TruckDrivingContest.htm
May. 6, 2013
Continuing to use old, damaged pallets is a danger to workers, product and your reputation. Don’t do it! Train workers to mark damaged pallets out-of-service and keep plenty of quality pallets available.
In an article called Pallet Safety , author William Nowell notes that, “Pallet inspection programs are critical…[to] limit or prevent the unnecessary costs associated with human safety, physical damage and reputation of the company.” Weak, cracked or unstable pallets need to be removed from the work area, but how do you dispose of them?
I would love to hear from you (both management and workers) on your experiences with good and bad pallets. How have they impacted your work? Is there a pallet graveyard at your company or how have you found new homes for them?
The North American Pallet Recycling Network connects businesses that need to dispose of pallets with local recyclers. I’m optimistic that the recyclers are not putting damaged pallets back into circulation, but rather are repairing or using them for some other purpose.
Has anyone tried listing in the “Free” section of Craigslist.org or 2good2toss.com? If not usable for pallets, or art or whatever, can they still be used to burn as wood heat?
I know we Washingtonian’s are big into recycling, so how ‘bout recycling some ideas below about how your company handles the issue of damaged pallets.
North American Pallet Recycling Network: http://www.palletbuyersguide.com/
Rainier Pallet and Crating: http://www.rainierpallet.com/se/gg/washington_used_pallets.htm
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6522967
Apr. 29, 2013
We all know that truck drivers are generally quite selfless and do what they can to protect and give back to the community. NBC News recently featured a story on more truck driving heroes. This report was about Operation Roger, a group of truckers who volunteer to transport abandoned pets to new “forever homes.”
As cool as a program like Operation Roger is, we were wondering if there might be even more benefit to the program than placing doomed or displaced pets. How does having a pet in the cab positively or negatively impact drivers?
So drivers, what are your thoughts or experiences? After a long day of driving, does having the responsibility of a pet increase physical activity such as walking?
Studies show that people with pets live longer, so does short term fostering the care of an animal, or several over the course of a year, impact emotional health in the form of companionship? Does it decrease the impacts of loneliness? What’s better than a companion who is willing to happily agree with everything you have to say? (Of course, this may not be true if you are transporting a cat.)*
On the other hand, are pets a distraction in the cab? Do you think they negatively impact your driving in any way?
Whether you have a full time pet companion or are a volunteer pet transporter, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
To find out more information about Operation Roger or to volunteer: http://operationroger.rescuegroups.org/
NBC Nightly News Story: http://dailynightly.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/23/17879769-saving-abandoned-animals-one-ride-at-a-time?lite
Photo is courtesy of Operation Roger and the namesake for the non-profit organization.
*All opinions expressed here are the personal views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official view of TIRES. (My bosses made me say this even though everyone knows dogs are much better pets than cats.)
Apr. 22, 2013
We have all heard that it’s important to have and practice an escape plan with our families in case of a house fire. Well, it is just as important to have a plan with your drivers in case they are involved in a collision.
I was at a meeting recently where a corporate attorney was speaking about how important it is to have the plan in place and to test it out.
Things to consider:
- Do you have a dedicated phone line for drivers to report collisions to you? Post it in each tractor because in stressful situations people frequently forget numbers.
- Do you have someone to assess the scene and take appropriate photos? Evidence deteriorates quickly so the sooner it is gathered, the better.
- Have you talked to your drivers about appropriately cooperating with and responding to questions by police investigators? Are your drivers aware that they will most likely be detained in a squad car? Survivor’s guilt could make them take more credit for the incident than they should. We all know that 4-wheelers are often the cause of truck collisions.
An attorney that specializes in this field can help you develop a plan to deal with these situations in the best possible way.
If you are thinking this only applies to large companies that can afford to retain an attorney, it doesn’t.
Companies of all sizes need to have a plan in place. There are organizations (listed below) that can connect you with an attorney in your area that specializes in semi-truck collisions. You can meet with them to develop a plan and know who to call if you ever need someone.
If the worst happens, you don’t want to be searching through a phone book to find out what to do. Have a plan in place so everyone knows who needs to be contacted and what their responsibilities are.
Where to find a transportation attorney
Transportation Lawyers Association: www.translaw.org
Trucking Industry Defense Association: www.tida.org
USLaw Network: www.uslaw.org
Harmonie Group: www.harmonie.org
ALFA International: www.alfainternational.com
Apr. 15, 2013
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that distracted driving is a big problem. There are laws against it, grieving families have told their stories, we know that statistically it’s even more dangerous than drunk driving – yet it’s still happening.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month so many organizations are pushing even harder to get the word out and get us to make the safe choice.
Personally, I believe it’s going to be peer-pressure that changes society’s behavior when it comes to distracted driving. It’s what has worked for smoking. I remember coming home as a horrified fourth grader to lecture my parents on their smoking habit. In those days, most adults smoked even in enclosed cars with their kids. Now, I almost never see kids struggling to breathe in the back of a smoky vehicle like my brother and I did.
I also remember not wearing seatbelts and being able to ride in the bed of the truck on hot summer days. Years later I bought a dog and had to sign a contract that I would never let her ride in the bed of a truck. Times have really changed!
I could go on all day with examples of how once generally accepted behavior gradually becomes unacceptable to a society. But how many smokers’ kids had to develop asthma or eventually lung cancer first? How many unbelted kids were thrown from vehicles before that became unacceptable?
We as a society need to make distracted driving unacceptable.
National Safety Council: http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/DDAM.aspx
Apr. 8, 2013
April Fools’ Day, spring fever, the sun finally coming out…All these things lift our spirits and make us want to maybe goof off a little extra.
Not to take the wind out of your sails, but I do want to remind you that as much as we all want to make our jobs as fun as possible, please remember to keep it safe too. Think through things to make sure no one will get hurt from joking or goofing around.
For example, don’t hide or in any way alter tools needed to do the job. Don’t tamper with other people’s food or drink as you may not be aware of dietary restrictions or allergies. Never create or leave slippery surfaces.
And please, if you notice that one person is bearing the brunt of the “jokes” or “teasing,” give them a break. There is a fine line between mutual goofing off with co-workers and one person becoming the butt of every joke. It stops being funny after a while.
If you need more reasons to play it safe, check out the links below:
Practical jokes and the law of unintended consequences: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130107/OPINION04/701079971
Practical jokes can cross the line and become bullying: http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Files/Bullying.pdf
Consider the law as well: http://www.hum.wa.gov/FAQ/FAQSexualHarasment2.html
Sharing information on pranks gone wrong from a legal standpoint: http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/327693/222/Sharing-lessons-from-April-1-Pranks-gone-wrong
Horsing around on the job is also a bad idea: http://www.mgc.edu/envsrv/safetyManualPDFs/2%20General/8%20-%20Horseplay%20Is%20No%20Laughing%20Matter%20-%20Info.pdf
If you must partake in practical jokes, here are five types to avoid: http://voices.yahoo.com/five-ill-conceived-practical-joke-ideas-3280400.html?cat=7 This is definitely not an exhaustive list!
Apr. 2, 2013
You’ve got 14 hours to get your job done. Does it really matter when you drive, when you load, or when you take your break? Maybe…
A recent article by Soccolich, et al., suggests that how a truck driver spends his or her time during the 14-hour workday can matter a lot when it comes to safety. And it may not be as you think.
Their research showed that drivers were safer if they drove at the start of their 14-hour shift rather than doing task work (such as loading or maintenance) outside the truck for a few hours and then driving. If there was task work that needed to be done, then those drivers that took a one-hour break before beginning their drive were just as safe as those who started driving at the beginning of the shift.
How did they learn this? By using naturalistic data collection (observing drivers perform their regular work), the researchers determined that the length of time spent driving, whether 8 hours or 11 hours, did not impact safety as much as whether or not they performed other work before the drive.
To categorize relative safety, the researchers developed criteria of safety-critical events (SCE) – crashes, near-crashes, crash-relevant conflicts, and unintentional lane deviations – to gauge the safety of the work day. Using various cameras, they observed driver tasks and SCE to determine how timing of tasks impacted SCE.
New data, new perspectives, and new decisions to be made….In truth, this research may or may not impact federal regulations, especially since there is often controversy surrounding different forms of data collection. However, as an employer, the more you know about what contributes to incidents and injuries with your workforce, the more you can organize your work to mitigate risk.
Link to Soccolich article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457512002485
FMCSA: Summary of HOS regulations: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm
FMCSA: Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service
14-Hour Driving Window
This window is usually thought of as a “daily” limit even though it is not based on a 24-hour period. You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14-consecutive-hour driving window begins when you start any kind of work. Once you have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Your driving is limited to the 14-consecutive-hour period even if you take some off-duty time, such as a lunch break or a nap, during those 14 hours.
FMCSA approach to naturalistic data collection: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/speeches/Naturalistic-Driving-Research.aspx
Citation: Soccolich, S.A., et al., An analysis of driving and working hour on commercial motor vehicle driver safety using naturalistic data collection. Accid. Anal. Prev. (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2012.06.024
Mar. 25, 2013
Actually, I don’t really care what’s in your wallet. I’m more interested in where you store it. Is it in your back pocket? It’s probably been there since you were sixteen.
I’m not trying to judge you as I carry around all my gear in a heavy purse. So I get the need to have essentials (and not so essentials) nearby. However my thought is that the wallet is messing with your posture all day!
Here’s my concern for you guys out there. What is that extra inch of cowhide doing to your spine? If you’ve been sitting lopsided your whole life…Has your back started hurting?
I’m not a physician so I can’t dispense medical advice, but I am curious about the topic.
If you have back pain, would you be willing to try not sitting on your wallet for a week or a month to see if your pain improves?
If you don’t have back pain, would you be willing to start putting your wallet somewhere else to prevent the possibility?
If you try it, check back and let me know in the comments if it worked or not.
Maybe this is something you’ve already tried. Let us know if it worked for you.
Here’s a couple articles on the topic:
Mar. 18, 2013
Recently a Washington truck driver shared with me his belief that most collisions caused by truck drivers were the fault of those paid by percentage of revenue or load, rather than by the hour. He believes companies that do business this way are inherently more dangerous to work for and he will not work for this type of company.
Research shows and the Washington State Patrol agrees that the majority of commercial vehicle involved collisions are actually caused by other motorists. However, studies also confirm the truck driver’s theory that the collisions caused by commercial vehicles (including single vehicle incidents) are more likely to be caused by drivers who are paid by the trip or load.*
Why would paid by the load be more dangerous? In a report to the U.S. House of Representatives, Michael Belzer outlines the risks and cuts that drivers, especially independent owner/operators, must take to stay profitable in this competitive industry. Since they are not paid for time spent loading or unloading or waiting to deliver, their time must be made up on the road.
Now, it’s a fact that commercial drivers are safer than the general motoring public - the rate is 1.22 for large trucks in fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles verses 1.33 for passenger vehicles, so I’m definitely not putting down their skills. And what they do is absolutely vital to our economy….If you’ve got it, a truck brought it!
My goal is to find a way to make the job safer so you can come home to your families at the end of a run. Here we have an injury trend, a path to choose: one way we know is safer, the other way is more dangerous…Is the dangerous path worth the extra money? Should we as a society do something to make the safe path profitable? What is it that needs to be done?
So, what do we as an industry do about this? If we truly believe that the safety of drivers and other motorists is more important that the almighty dollar, should we change how things are done? Is even one life worth making a change?
Do any companies out there have success stories that they’d like to share?
What are driver’s experiences in relation to this issue?
What can be done to keep the industry profitable AND increase safety?
*Studies confirming payment type impacts the likelihood of collisions:
Monaco, K and Williams, E. “Assessing the Determinants of Safety in the Trucking Industry.” Journal of Transportation and Statistics. April 2000, p. 6.
Belzer, M. H. “The Economics of Safety: How Compensation Affects Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety.” Presented to United States House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, July 11, 2012.
Quinlan, M. and Wright, L. “Remuneration and Safety in the Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry: A Review Undertaken for the National Transport Commission.” Report Prepared for the National Transport Commission, Melbourne, October 2008.
Info for passenger vehicles:
FMCSA Share the Road: http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/index.asp
Fatality data per million miles driven: http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/CarrierResearchResults/HTML/2010overview/2010overview.htm
Mar. 11, 2013
At 2:00 am Sunday we were supposed to have switched our clocks back one hour. If you didn’t, then, so sorry, you are already late! Either way, though, please take extra caution on the roads and at work today.
A study by SleepBetter.org put a price on the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST) by investigating peer-reviewed literature and developing a Lost-Hour Economic Index to rank metropolitan areas. Specifically, they looked at the increase in heart attacks, workplace injuries in mining and construction sectors and increased cyberloafing by office workers.
They found that it costs over $1.65 per capita for our nation to switch to DST. Morgantown, West Virginia ranks in worst place with a cost per capita of $3.37. The highest cost per capita in Washington State is the Bremerton-Silverdale area at $1.71, followed closely by Spokane at $1.70.
So why do we do DST?
The United States started observing Daylight Savings Time during World War I as a way to conserve energy. Why we still do it is anyone’s guess, in fact some states such as Arizona and Hawaii no longer observe it.
What about car crashes?
Various studies have shown that car crashes increase on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Studies also show that many crashes by tractor-trailers are actually caused by the four wheeling motor public so please be extra cautions around big rigs today.
What can we do to make driving around big-rigs safer?
It’s obvious if one thinks about that a big rig is much heavier than a commuter vehicle so it takes them much longer to stop. But often as we (the motoring public) are attempting to get from Point A to Point B, we forget about the needs of other vehicles on the road.
So to increase the safety of everyone, give big-rigs a wide berth. It takes them much longer to stop and their blind spots are enormous. If you can’t see a driver in their mirrors, then they cannot see you.
And please, if you wake up fatigued this morning. Hit snooze again and stay off the roads.
Sharing the Road with Tractor-Trailers: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.3.3.shtml
History of Daylight Savings Time adoption: http://www.zimbio.com/Why+Do+We+Have+Daylight+Savings/articles/srmWOYL2cOf/history+Daylight+Savings+Time+adopted
Tips for dealing with DST: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/daylight-saving-time-spring-forward/story?id=15878343