Dec. 9, 2013
This time of year, most people think it’s finding a well-lit spot close to the mall entry. But if you’re a long-haul truck driver it’s more like finding somewhere legal to park so you can sleep where you won’t be robbed, killed or disturbed by prostitutes.
According to the 2013 Truck Parking Survey and Focus Group Results, the end of truck drivers’ shifts can be very stressful as they attempt to find a place to park for the night. Truck stops are often full and customer sites and city ordinances commonly prohibit trucks from parking overnight.
Of the 3,996 respondents to the survey, 39% stated that it often takes over an hour to find a place to park to take their mandated breaks. And during the past 12 months, 88% stated that they had to park somewhere that they didn’t feel safe during a mandatory rest break or during loading or unloading.
55% stated that they occasionally felt fatigued or unsafe because they had to keep driving when they couldn’t find a safe place to park.
One quote from the study was particularly telling “…Anytime I am out of hours and can’t find parking is dangerous. It’s a lose-lose situation. Park illegally or drive illegally. There is no legal solution.”
Most likely when you climb into bed at night, you feel safe, with no one to disturb you but your own family or pets. Imagine what it would be like to have to find a safe place to sleep each night… with the potential of being disturbed by a police citation or worse, someone who intends to harm you.
What can we do to make sleeping safer for the drivers who bring us everything we need?
2013 Truck Parking Survey and Focus Group Results: http://truckerdesiree.com/2013/12/02/2013-truck-parking-survey-and-focus-group-results/
Dec. 2, 2013
The other day, I passed a semi-truck and trailer stopped on the side of the road. The driver was out and nervously eyeing traffic while he checked his load. It was not an ideal place to stop and he was obviously concerned about the vehicles streaming by just feet away.
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind motorists to stay alert when there are trucks on the side of the road and in parking lots. Please watch out for the drivers and give them plenty of room.
Drivers, wear high-visibility clothing when outside your rig. We appreciate you and want to keep you safe!
More information from KeepTruckingSafe.org: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/hazardpreventiontools.html#safetyplanVisibility
Nov. 26, 2013
Friday morning 51-year-old James Morton of Benton City was driving his semi-truck southbound on Highway 20 about 13 miles north of Cusick when he crossed the center line and ultimately died after a crash with another semi.
We don’t know the details of what occurred before this sad chain of events, but hope this will be a reminder to everyone to please drive carefully out there. If you are tired, take a break. If you are fighting a cold or illness don’t expect as much from yourself. Allow yourself time to recover and to work safely.
Our thoughts go out to the friends, families and companies of both drivers.
For more details from KHQ: http://www.khq.com/story/24044287/two-semi-trucks-collide-in-pend-oreille-county
Nov. 25, 2013
It isn’t an oxymoron.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed an unprecedented plan to reduce congestion and improve safety around chain up areas on I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass.
If you are a frequent cross-state traveler, you have probably seen the lane construction and new signage along westbound I-90, three miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.
The plan is to increase communication and get rid of the confusion over when and where to stop to chain up.
In addition to labeling the chain-up zones, which can be hard to decipher with a layer of snow over everything, there will also be information about room available ahead to chain up so drivers won’t be stopping in the traffic lanes out of fear they’ll run out of space to chain up.
Be aware, stops will be limited to 30 minutes, so don’t plan to park and sleep it out. Prepare in advance with these chaining guides:
Take time to check your chains: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901272013.pdf
Tips for successful chaining: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90432009.pdf
Heading eastbound? Don’t despair! Eastbound traffic will see similar upgrades in upcoming years.
For more info from WA DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/chainup
Link to the Washington State Patrol’s MINIMUM CHAIN REQUIREMENTS for vehicles and combinations over 10,000 pounds GVWR: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/docs/cvd/chain_reqs.pdf.
Link to Washington State Commercial Vehicle Guide (page 1-2): http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/EE2D33C7-E6A0-4C58-9BD9-AE05C003B327/0/VehicleGuide.pdf
Nov. 18, 2013
Is it years of experience? Supportive management? A strong safety culture? Reputation? Yes, all these things are important, but the most important ingredients are the dedicated employees that make up the team.
Last Friday, I was privileged to have the opportunity to ride along with Jim Carter of Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc., to see firsthand how a truly professional truck driver gets it done. Jim’s been a truck driver for 25 years with the last two and half at Oak Harbor Freight Lines. Jim is meticulous in checking the load to prevent load shift, careful with his deliveries, friendly with all his customers and always on the go!
He has some advice to new drivers just starting out, “Always pay attention to your surroundings and the other vehicles, including other trucks on the road. Don’t trust that they won’t cut you off. “
Thank you again to the supportive management at Oak Harbor Freight Lines for giving me the opportunity to ride along with one of your best!
I’ll never stop being amazed by the variability of this industry, the complexity of the process and how hard you all work to make it look easy.
So many of us don’t realize the dedication of truck drivers to getting all we need, where we need it and on time.
So to the rest of the motoring public, from Jim and all the other hard working drivers out there – give them space on the roads. Check out the No-Zone for more information on driving safe around trucks. Always remember that if you can’t see the driver in a mirror, the driver can’t see you.
FMCSA Share the Road Safely, No-Zones: http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/noZone/sideNoZone.asp
Nov. 12, 2013
Truckers put in long hours all year, but the shortening of days mixed with fog or rain make working outside treacherous.
Always wear high-visibility clothing or vests when working outside your truck.
Employers, consider providing headlamps to your workers so they can keep their hands free. Headlamps are double-duty in allowing workers to see and be seen.
Here are a few of my favorite safety materials on this topic from KeepTruckingSafe.org:
Camo is not part of this job description: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901082013.pdf
Working in the dark: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90842012.pdf
This is what motorists see: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90322009.pdf
Find more at www.KeepTruckingSafe.org
I bet you’ve got stories of close calls or lessons learned. Share them in the comments.
Nov. 11, 2013
We at KeepTruckingSafe.org appreciate you Veterans. Thank you for your service!
If you are a returning veteran, consider a new career in trucking. We need you!
GI Bill resources for servicemen and women will help you get your CDL: http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/programs/ncd.html
Nov. 4, 2013
Check out our companion site at www.KeepTruckingSafe.org to find fun, interactive training tools on:
Go ahead and use the materials at KeepTruckingSafe.org. It’s all free!
Oct. 28, 2013
That was some of the best advice my dad ever gave me. It got me through many a high school and college course. (Note – teachers are great but sometimes their personalities get confused with the unsavory topics they are teaching!)
Opportunities to learn don’t end when you get out of school either. We learn from experience, colleagues, friends, family and bosses all of our lives. Some lessons are costly, but sometimes, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and grab an opportunity, they can be free.
Here’s your chance to grab that opportunity by sending representatives from your company to a free safety training so they can come back with the tools to train your entire team. Some companies are discouraged because the class is taught by Teamsters Training. But as the title of this blog suggests, this is your opportunity to take my dad’s advice! Since this training is paid for by a SHIP* grant from Washington State’s L&I and not by union funds, there will not be a plug for union membership. You’ve got nothing to lose and can gain a lot!
Doug Stiffarm, Safety Director of Miles Resources in Puyallup, Washington agrees:
“What I appreciated most was that in just two days, we received valuable information, specific to the trucking industry, in a format that makes communicating the message easy for anyone. The information is visually appealing to draw drivers into the safety message. This is very important if an employer has shift drivers who cannot always attend a scheduled safety meeting. I think it’s a wonderful format and Miles Resources has implemented these training materials into our weekly drivers’ safety meetings.”
So what will you get?
The two day class is Safer Drivers: Workers Training Workers and covers both the new CSA program and 50 weeks’ worth of training using TIRES** training materials. Send a key driver that is respected by his or her peers and a safety representative and they will come back with the ability to train the rest of your team every week for a year in 15 minute intervals.
The grant is ending soon so take advantage of this last opportunity:
Spokane – November 12-13
Tukwila – November 20-21
Tacoma – December 4-5
Everett – December 11-12
Tukwila – December 18-19
We all have a common goal, which is keeping workers safe. So, if the training is great, go ahead and grab the opportunity!
For more information or to sign up call 509-545-8297 or www.teamsterstraining.org. These trainings are only in Washington State.
*Safety & Health Investment Projects. For information on how to apply for your own SHIP grant: http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/Grants/default.asp
**Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis. www.KeepTruckingSafe.org
Oct. 21, 2013
Slip and fall injuries plague the trucking industry during the winter months. There are a variety of factors to look out for: An early freeze can take down drivers when they go to leave their cabs first thing in the morning as will a slippery patch in a lesser-used portion of the delivery bay. Ice and darker conditions often combine to, well, make things more of a challenge.
The good news is that you can prepare to take the challenge head on and prevail!
Drivers – check the tread on your footwear for wear. Put away the cowboy boots and sneakers and bring out the work boots.
Employers – inspect your bays and parking areas. Fill potholes and keep icy areas sanded. Enforce proper footwear.
What has task, environment and footwear got to do with it? This interactive training shows how all three impact the friction needed to keep you on your feet. In other words: fun, comedic training for injury prevention: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/game_2.html
Need safety posters and tip sheets? KeepTruckingSafe.org is at your service:
Wear the footwear of the pros: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90422009.pdf
Don’t let your footwear get you down: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90412009.pdf
Inspect your boots: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901182013.pdf
Stay safe out there!