Rear-end Collision . . . Averted (Almost)

Avoiding a rear-end collision

Life is Good

I occasionally watch Life is Good, an owner-operator and YouTuber, for his insights and adventures. He employs commentary driving during his videos, explaining what’s going on and how he handles the situation.

In his video We almost DIE and KILL the four wheelers going down Fancy Gap, (starting at 12:00), he shows a typical situation where cars bunch up around a slower vehicle. He spots the slower vehicles from afar and starts to slow down.

But despite his efforts in anticipating the slower traffic, he wasn’t ready for a vehicle in front of him really slowing down to allow vehicles into the left lane. This resulted in the truck making a quick lane change and what is known as a “hard-braking” incident.

He analyzes what happened (13:24) and later concludes he “was prepared, but not prepared enough.”

Rear-End Collisions and Trucking

Rear-end collisions occur frequently in trucking, about 18% of truck crashes each year. Although the crash may not be the fault of the truck, any crash involvement is documented, affects CSA scores and appears on your loss runs. There are instances (in some jurisdictions) of the trucking company being made to pay for the crash, if the other vehicle has no insurance.

Most collisions can be avoided. Sometimes the solution is training (defensive driving, commentary driving, driver coaching, etc.). Sometimes the solution is deployment of technology (automatic braking, collision avoidance systems, etc.). Sometimes it is simply old-fashioned accident analysis and removal of the 1% of “accident prone” drivers or remediation of excellent drivers who are in need of a little help.

Whatever the solution applied, it’s time to increase all of your drivers’ vigilance in moving traffic. The most dangerous mile of road is always the mile ahead.

Thank you for reading this.

All opinions expressed are my own and may not reflect the views of any companies or organizations I work with.

Hiring? Revised Form I-9 Requirement

USCIS

The New I-9 Form

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised version of the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States.

This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers. NOTE: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9. —USCIS

 

What’s New?

The latest I-9 form has a revised List of Acceptable Documents and specifically an updated List C, to include the most current version of the certification or report of birth—issued by the U.S. State Department.

What’s Required?

Failure to comply by the Sept. 18, 2017 deadline can result in significant fines.

For more information on the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, please visit the revised I-9 page. It is recommended to immediately put the updated I-9 form into use.

Thank you for reading this.

Make G.O.A.L. Your Backing Goal

backing error

A Sad . . . But True Story

A driver was backing into a parking space at a truck stop. As he was backing, he came too close to the vehicle parked on his blind side and backed into it. What does he do? He pulls forward and while focusing on his blind side, he backed into the truck parked on the driver’s side of his vehicle . . .

Nobody said it was easy . . .

Not all backing collisions end up costing “only” $5,000 in claims as in the story above. People can be seriously hurt, or even fatally injured in a backing collision.

Year-after-year, backing collisions remain one of the most frequent category of all collisions. But they are also in the category of the most preventable collisions.

What to do?

Remember G.O.A.L

Savvy delivery and trucking companies encourage their drivers to Get Out And Look (G.O.A.L.). Don’t back “by feel.” Slamming forty tons of vehicle against anything—even at a slow speed—can result in thousands of dollars of damage and destruction.

Drivers need to walk their path and look for potential obstacles. Look for overhead obstacles, too. Low tree branches or power lines can really mess up your day.

Get out and look as many times as you need to. You can’t be too safe.

backing errorUse a Spotter While Backing

A spotter can help avoid obstacles. Be sure you can see your spotter and your spotter can see you. You know—that eye contact thing.

Review any hand signals with the spotter.

And maintain eye contact. Stop if you don’t see the spotter.

The driver, however, is ultimately responsible for any movements of the vehicle. The driver in the above crash photos lost eye contact with the spotter . . .

Always Back Slowly

Idle while backing. Never use the fuel pedal or place the vehicle in a higher reverse gear while backing. Slow and sure wins the race—especially in reverse.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Backing does not come naturally for most drivers. Like most things, the more one does it, the easier it is to do.

But not any less dangerous.

Thanks for reading this.

Shortcuts . . . Taking the Low Road

In the ditchTaking the Low Road . . .

Shortcuts seem to offer a quick way to get where you want to go. This driver saw a number of cars cutting across a medium to a service road and decided to follow their lead.

Unfortunately he was driving a heavy vehicle and quickly became bogged down.

But say that he did make it across. This driver probably did not factor in all the up and down stresses and strains that would be put on the frame and on the trailer’s walls. Twisting the truck and trailer can cause both obvious damage or even hidden damage that can shorten the life of the vehicle.

Using (or abusing) a vehicle in a manner it was not designed is never a good idea. It is a recipe for disaster.

Stick to what you know. What works for another vehicle may not work for yours . . .

Here is the original video . . .

♦  Thank you for reading this.

Defusing Complacency at Work: J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

Drayage Ramp Crash

Monday Morning Blues . . .

It was about 11 AM on Monday morning when the driver pulling a container came around the corner on the Interstate 5 ramp to Interstate 405 in Portland, Oregon. Perhaps he had run this route hundreds of times with no problems. But today would be different.

As he came around the curve, the load shifted and resulted in what some call an “upset.” Neither the driver nor any member of the the public were injured, You can bet his boss was upset when he called it in . . .

Another Monday Does Not Have to be Another Monday

Not according to  J.A. Rodriguez, who gave his presentation this afternoon on Safety Complacency in the Workplace today in a webinar sponsored by Avetta and EHS Today.

If safety complacency is happening at your workplace, it’s not by accident, says Rodriguez, a nationally known presenter.

In fact, if complacency happens, it’s usually the result of design: it’s part of a process that allows it to happen.

Furthermore, because it’s part of a process, it can be changed. Rodriguez gave his strategies to overcome workplace complacency, followed by a Q&A session.

I would encourage everyone involved in safety to view his presentation when it is posted by EHS.

Thank you for viewing this.

 

U-Turns: A Bad Idea

U-turn follies

A Sure Short Cut . . .

This driver became hung up after trying to sneak across the medium.

In a sense, he was lucky. U-turns by tractor-trailers have resulted in a number of serious collisions resulting in injuries and death. As these type of collisions are considered “gross negligence” by the driver (and carrier), they can also result in large lawsuits against the driver and his employer, and the end of a driver’s career.

Here’s the whole story . . .

U-turns are always risky and dangerous. Other drivers will not expect a large vehicle to swing out in their lane, and if moving at high speeds, likely will not have time to respond. In some cases a large truck can blend in with the background, so they may not even see the vehicle.

Never make a U-turn. Period.

Thanks for reading this.

Latest Road Rage Attack Leaves Driver Hurt

Miami road rage

A Violent Reaction

The moving truck beeped its horn after a car driver failed to stop at an intersection. This enraged the car driver.

The car driver waited for the truck to stop at an upcoming intersection. He then calmly shot the truck driver in the face and drove away. The driver of the truck is expected to recover.

Welcome to Miami . . .

Not New . . . But a Growing Problem for Carriers

Road Rage is not a new phenomena on U.S. roads and certainly not in Florida, where a truck driver in May of last year, after making a lane change on I-10 between Commerce Parkway and Chaffee Road in Jacksonsville, Florida was fatally shot.

Highway fights between drivers are not uncommon. Incidents of road rage have doubled in a five year period according to ABC News.

Not Covered

Road rage is a listed as an exemption in many auto insurance policies says the Insurance Information Institute.  That’s because damages resulting from road rage don’t fit the definition of an accident, but rather are due to driver behavior. If your driver initiates a road-rage claim, your company will likely be on the hook and not have any coverage.

Typical triggers for road rage include lane changes and merging. Anyone looking at loss-runs will typically see this category as being in their top five claims.

Inform Your Drivers

Let drivers know your policy about conflicts with other drivers. Inform your drivers of the need to always de-escalate any potential conflict that could develop while driving.

Although it may seem like common sense and courtesy should prevent involvement in a potential road rage situation, I would still recommend periodic road rage training.

Remind drivers not to play “traffic cop.” It’s always better from a safety perspective to yield right of way. And behaviors as speeding or aggressive driving are not what any carrier should expect from a professional driver.

Related:

Preventing Sideswipes

Than you for reading this.

Be the Best: Leadership Development at Southeastern Freight Lines

Southeastern

The Leader of the Pack

Over sixty-six years old and a third-generation company, Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL), with operations in the southeastern region of the U.S. (and beyond through a network of partners), calls itself, “the leading provider of regional less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation services.” To sustain its leadership position, Southeastern knows it needs to develop its leaders and its unique culture so the company and its associates will continue to flourish. Here’s how they do it.

Human Relations

All associates at Southeastern are part of an Individualized Quality (IQ) workgroup team. Several times throughout the year, Southeastern conducts a 3-day Human Relations Seminar for its team leaders. Seminar participants study Principles of Human Relations, “proper Corrective Action, follow up technique, Safety, and cultivating a strong Southeastern Culture within their IQ Workgroup.”

Each morning the participants took tests which covered the previous day’s material. These test scores were used for both individual and group competition.

Quest for Quality

The company motto is “Quality without Question.” Southeastern is committed to improved quality and trains all of its leaders on Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Lean methodology.

Southeastern Freight Lines Lean 5S

Techs Too

Training at Southeastern doesn’t stop at the manager level. In-house technicians undergo Associate Continuing Education (ACE) training and certification, conducted by their maintenance department and outside vendors.

“If you take care of your people, they will take care of the customer, and that will take care of the future.” W. T. Cassels, founder, Southeastern Freight Lines

Fast Facts: Southeastern Freight Lines

Size: 3,036 power units, 4,048 drivers

Motto: Quality without Question

Company Saying: “Everyone sells and everyone serves.”

Risk Partner: Self-insured

Lessons Learned:  Develop and invest in your people. Adapt best business practices to fit your culture. Fully adopt new business tools by a show of unwavering support and commitment. Make best business practices part of your unique culture.

Thank you for reading this.

Night-time Horror Crash

I-94 4 AM Wednesday, Feb. 22

An Early AM Collision

At about 4 AM on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, the  30-year-old female driver and her companion were headed down East I-94 near Exit 145 “at full speed,” according to Michigan State Police.

They were headed in the wrong direction.

That’s when, just west of the Sargent Road exit, they struck a tractor-trailer head-on and square-on and were fatally injured. The truck driver was hospitalized with minor injuries. It took over seven hours to clear the scene and open I-94.

Night Driving can be Dangerous Driving

While it’s not yet known if alcohol or drugs played a role in this crash, it’s a well known fact that late at night there are more inebriated and/or medicated people on the highways. Bars can close anywhere from 2 AM to 4 AM in the lower 48 states, and between 4 AM and 5 AM in Hawaii and Alaska, respectively.

Older drivers cannot see as well at night, and any driver at any age can develop eye issues.

Tip: “Many eye diseases have no symptoms, which is why I tell my patients it’s important to get a routine eye exam every year whether you think you have a vision problem or not.” Richard E Gans, M.D., FACS , the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

Truck drivers need to have their eyes checked as well by medical professionals. In addition, they should be periodically trained in driving at night.

Know the Facts

Besides learning about night driving techniques, drivers should understand fatigue management and the effects of fatigue at different ages and stages of their lives.

Did you know the driver most vulnerable and at-risk to suddenly nodding off while driving is a young man in his early 20s? A driver in this age range can more easily fall asleep as the night wears on, while driving in fog, or starting out tired.

Drivers need to know about the signs of fatigued driving: changes in lane position or speed, impaired driving performance (poor gear changes, slower reaction times, etc.), and physical signs as yawning, heavy or pinched eyes, irritability, etc.

Seriously . . .

Like the crash above, night time accidents are more likely to be serious crashes. If a truck driver falls asleep, there is no telling where he could end up.

The best personal advice I’ve received about night driving is to simply stop before you’re too tired. It’s not easy these days to find a good rest area to park.

So know the signs of sleep, and pull over. Drivers need to be alert not only to protect themselves, but to respond to the mistakes of others.

Rest up, buckle up, and shut down when you have the need.

Thank you for reading this.

Fed Up: Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America

Fed Up

The Most Important, Most Powerful Institution in the World

It probably is, as the author suggests, “the most important, powerful institution in the world.” A better understanding of the ongoing errant behavior of this centenarian creature of Congress is the goal of Fed Up.

It’s the system, man. The Federal Reserve System, its official name. You may know it as the Federal Reserve. Or simply The Fed. And if it wasn’t misbehaving, that might have made for a different book title . . .

Zero Interest Rate Policy

One of the biggest errors of the Fed, says DiMartino Booth, was its December 16, 2008 move toward a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) on the Fed funds rate–paid by banks to banks. (Chap 1.) The Fed funds rate also affects the Prime rate, paid by bank consumers and the interest rates paid to savers.

At this time DiMartino Booth was already working for the Research Department of the Dallas Fed, which gave her a unique insider’s view of the behind-the-scenes action.

While the ZIRP prescription seemed to work, with the U.S. “officially” out of the recession by the middle of 2009, the zero interest rate policy didn’t change until the end of 2015. Things can move sooo slowly at the Fed . . .

In the mean time, savers, especially retirees, are cheated out of billions of dollars, year after year. And inefficient zombie corporations are being kept alive well past their natural lifespan, helping to create a drag on the economy.

Secrecy . . .

Equally disturbing was the Fed’s veil of secrecy in making $3.3 trillion dollars in loans to Wall Street (Chap 14), all the while tightening credit requirements to Main Street. I can still recall all the controversy in 1979 surrounding the so-called Chrysler Bailout. One loan to one company. All kinds of concessions were required by both labor and management and no one was happy at the time. Flash forward to the beginning of the Great Recession and thousands of loans were made in secret to some of the biggest corporations and banks in the world, and yet where were the so-called public defenders?

Inflation Anyone?

Another ill-effect of current Fed policy is an inflation rate running ahead of wage increases. A cart of groceries can cost a family hundreds of dollars. Not to worry, the Fed’s economists (their numbers are legion), don’t bother to calculate the cost of food (or fuel) in their economic models, so why should we? A local insurance agent tells me a number of folks on fixed incomes have let their home insurance lapse in order to pay more pressing bills. Say what? This would be what is considered anecdotal evidence by the Fed, not worthy of their high and mighty data sets.

Danielle DiMartino Booth concludes with suggestions for a more streamlined Federal Reserve System. Congress needs to end the Fed’s dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment (price, per se, is simply information), and focus on stabilizing the buying power of the U.S. dollar. The Fed needs to stop its manipulation of the currency (via inflation) to jolt savers into spending money. In short, the Fed is in need of some serious, serious reform.

I agree and recommend reading Fed Up to anyone wanting to learn more on how the U.S. economy arrived at its current–depending on who you ask–stagnate state, and what is needed to insure it is able to move forward now and in the future.

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the author.

 

Blown off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?

Driver blown off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Another Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tragedy Unfolds

The drive yesterday noon on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was described as blustery at best. Bridge officials had declared a Level 1 wind advisory, with winds over 40 mph.

The driver, 47, of Greenville, N.C., with about twenty years of experience, was at the 15 mile marker in the southbound lane ear the Eastern Shore side, when it is believed a gust of wind resulted in his tractor-trailer leaving the bridge.

Dangerous Winds

I’ve written on the dangers of wind when pulling vans. There are several things to keep in mind about the wind:

  1. Basic wind speed is an average. As an average, that means at times the actual wind speeds will be higher.
  2. The wind gust factor is about 1.5. So a 40 mile wind, like yesterday on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, with winds gusting over 47 mph, could really result in winds over 53 MPH or greater. This is likely enough, if the conditions are right, to overturn a tractor pulling a lightly loaded van.
  3. Wind is totally unpredictable and variable. As the earth turns the sun heats the surface and creates a force that results in “wind” as warm air rises and cold air sinks.

Who’s in Charge Here?

It’s up to the driver to make the determination he or she can safely negotiate a windy stretch of road, bridge, or ridge. Some highways have windsocks for drivers. Usually weather reports will indicate the day’s forecast for wind gusts. Encourage drivers to check them and take note . . .

Although rescued from the water by a U.S. Navy helicopter, the driver died enroute to a hospital. Water temperature was estimated to be about 47 degrees F. at the time.

About thirty minutes after the crash, Chesapeake Bay Bridge officials hiked restrictions to Level 2, requiring tractor-trailers to be loaded with more than 30,000 pounds of cargo. Since its construction, this was the seventh truck to have gone off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, with only one survivor to date.

Thank you for reading this.

Trux v. Train: Getting Plugged at the RRX

Salt Lake City 1-21-2017

All the Right Moves . . .

The driver was doing everything right. After all, he had crossed these tracks hundreds of times. Not to shake up the freight in the trailers the driver took the tracks carefully and slowly.

The following then happened . . .

 

Preventable or Not?

Fact 1:

The warning lights and barrier arms failed to deploy. At least not until after the collision occurred.

Fact 2:

Under federal regulations locomotive horns must be sounded for 15-20 seconds before entering all public grade crossings, but not more than one-quarter mile in advance.

Unless they are in a “dead zone” or quiet zone.

There are six types of quiet zones:

  • A Pre-Rule Quiet Zone (Full or Partial) is a quiet zone that was established before October 9, 1996, and in place as of December 18, 2003.
  • An Intermediate Quiet Zone is a quiet zone that was established after October 9, 1996, but before December 18, 2003.
  • New Quiet Zones are those that do not meet the criteria for Pre-Rule or Intermediate Quiet Zones.
  • Partial Quiet Zonesare quiet zones where the horn is silenced for only a portion of the day, typically between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Full Quiet Zones are zones where the horn is silenced 24 hours per day.

FACT 3:

Locomotives may deploy their ‘alerting lights’ or crossing lights before the crossing.

Before this collision at least two headlights on the locomotive at visible.

In view of these facts:

Was this collision preventable or not? Was there anything the driver could have or should have done differently? Why didn’t the truck driver stop?

Up to nine collisions a week occur between trains and commercial motor vehicles.

Thank you for reading this.

 

Five Bold Choices by Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian

5 Bold Choices by by Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian

Who Are Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian?

Jay Coughlan ran several successful software companies and Larry Julian writes bestsellers on the intersection of faith and work. Together their combined stories provide the synergy that resulted in Five Bold Choices: Rise above your Circumstances and Redefine Your Life.

Masters of the pitch, be it Coughlan making sixteen presentations in a day on Wall Street, or Julian pitching publisher’s row 19 times for his first book, they now direct their attention to anyone seeking transformation–based on the knowledge and experience they gained from their own ups and downs.

Coughlan and Julian found transformation is only possible through volition. Change needs to be not only a choice, but a Bold Choice.

This was not always apparent to either of the authors in the course of their lives. Both authors were able to change who they are from who they were. And they want to help others to reach their potential.

The Bold Choices

The first Bold Choice is Clarity or keeping the important things important. Sometimes that can be as simple as writing down your goals (most people don’t). Other times it’s distinguishing between the things that are energy giving or energy draining.

The next Bold Choice is that of accountability. Did you know a survey of over 500 executives by the American Management Association found 38% of business leaders cite fear of being held responsible for mistakes or failures, as one of the factors holding them back? (page 64) But failure can be turned around. Coughlan says instead of asking what you did wrong, start with asking what you did right–then move to what could you have done differently, and what do you need to change?

The third Bold Choice is adaptability. Coughlan goes to prison and had to adapt to his new reality. Julian talks about his struggles over seven years to get his first book published. Only after internal change had taken place could they see any progress.

The fourth Bold Choice is confidence. Confidence often comes in two flavors–too little or too much. Both can be a dominant tendency in your life and both can result in poor leadership or decision-making. The authors suggest the key is less hubris and more humility.

The last Bold Choice is balance. Balance can only be achieved by making the decision to decide, a word from the Latin decidere, which means, literally, to cut off or cut away. One decision-making method as to what to let go is the 168-Hour Test, based on 168 hours in a week, listing out the important, as well as the unimportant things, to restore balance. And that will take you back to the first Bold Choice, to repeat the cycle of Bold Choices.

The authors end with several chapters on gratitude. Be thankful for all your challenges in life and business, good and bad. It’s all about the journey. It always was.

There are seven discussion guides in the book, to help the reader reflect on the lessons of the Five Bold Choices.

I recommend this book for anyone who feels someone they know or their own life or career could be off-track or out of balance and need practical answers. That could include parents, counselors, life-coaches, and executive-coaches.

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer. A review copy was provided by the authors. 

Safety Belts, Safety Belts, Safety Belts . . .

driver ejected, critical conditionDo You Have a Seat-Belt Policy?

The windshield shows some damage from the driver’s head, but is otherwise intact. The side window next to the steering wheel is missing, so one can assume the driver was not wearing his safety belt when he was ejected through the window . . .

In the course of a loss-prevention survey I will ask insureds if they have a seat-belt policy. Of course, everyone says they do, the policy in writing, and that the driver has acknowledged the policy.

. . . and then we move on to the next question.

Saturday, Jan 21, 2017–Three men, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the truck onto the median in the crash on Saturday.

Three men, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the truck onto the median in the crash on Saturday. Boston Globe

“1 killed, 2 injured in Plymouth truck crash”

A 47-year-old North Reading man was killed and two other men were seriously injured when a freight truck flipped over in the median of Route 25 in Plymouth on Saturday afternoon, State Police said.

The driver of the truck, a 30-year-old man from Peabody, and a passenger, a 24-year-old Revere man, were taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham with serious injuries, according to the State Police.

The three men, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the truck onto the median, said Lieutenant Tom Ryan, a State Police spokesman.

This second photo is from another truck crash, on the same day (this past weekend), in which all three occupants were ejected from the vehicle, one fatally.

None of these employees wore a safety belt, and all paid a dear price for that omission. So will their company, not only in disrupted operations, but in the form of higher insurance premiums, damage to reputation, and loss of good will.

Just the Facts . . .

Certainly these are both bad wrecks, and not all of the facts are in yet . . . but would the outcome have been different if everyone was wearing a seat belt? Would the belted driver(s) have remained in the seat in a manner to sustain control of the vehicle, enough to avoid a more serious crash and subsequent serious injuries? Would have wearing a safety belt made a life or death difference?

One big difference we know for sure from driver studies, is that drivers who do not wear their safety belts are considered risky drivers. They may have other bad habits . . . like speeding and not following the rules.

Drivers who do not wear a safety belt self-identify as the bad-boys of the transportation industry.

Is that who you want driving for you?

Thank you for reading this.

The Age of Digital Transformation (Infographic)

Key findings from the fourth annual Logicalis Global CIO Survey.

What You Don’t Know, May Disrupt Your Business . . . if Not Kill It

Key findings from the fourth annual Logicalis Global CIO Survey, based on a survey of 708 CIOs worldwide include “shadow IT” departments and, of course, data security.

Jeanne Wenzel Ross,  Director of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research, says technology by itself is no big deal, and technology, per se, offers no advantages to the user.

That’s because technology is readily accessible to anyone. Hence the growth of Shadow and Stealth IT within organizations, as the infographic points out.

To make technology work for you, says Dr. Ross, it needs to be integrated into all areas of the business. This integration falls under the concept of “enterprise architecture,” or how you will merge technology with your strategy, across the business.

The alternative is each department doing its own thing (silos), with the hope of having IT wire it all together.

Resource: 10 Digital Transformation book recommendations for IT and Business Leaders

Thank you for reading this.

Roundabout Dangers

roundabout crash

The Wheel of Misfortune

It was 9 AM on a Monday morning when the 58 year-old driver of a 2000 Freightliner pulling doubles approached the westbound Business U.S. 10 roundabout, near Midland, Michigan.

The driver didn’t slow enough before the roundabout. Losing control, he flipped the tractor and lead trailer upside down. His foot was pinned under the dash, but fortunately he was freed by the Midland Fire Department with only minor injuries.

West Business 10 roundabout crash

The Next Big Thing

Roundabouts are one of the latest ‘big things’ in road design. Roundabouts are promoted by the DOT as an overall safer means to connect traffic flows by eliminating left turns and the need to make stops.

Safer does not mean accident free. Some of the insurance carriers I work with are experiencing some large claims involving roundabouts, and motor carriers are advised to develop new driver training objectives for negotiating roundabouts.

What is a Roundabout?

A roundabout consists of a central island, usually surrounded by an apron (truck apron), and one to two lane carriageway (circulatory roadway). The spokes or lanes of the carriageway (the legs) are divided by splitter islands.

Parts of a roundabout

Other Features

  • Traffic travels counterclockwise around the center island.
  • Roundabouts come in all shapes and sizes, not only circular. Some are oval-shaped, teardrop-shaped, peanut-shaped, and dogbone-shaped.
  • Some have as few as three legs. Others as many as six.
  • Vehicles entering the roundabout need to yield the right of way to traffic already circulating, and to pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  • Traffic already inside the carriageway or circulatory roadway will always keep moving in the roundabout. This traffic has the right-of-way.

While there are now over two-dozen roundabouts in the Kansas City area alone, it seems like very few drivers know how to use them properly.  Phillip B. Grubaugh, Esq.

No Excuses!

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) need basic training on roundabouts. The duration, scope of this training will depend on their area of service and the types of roundabouts they will encounter.

Roundabouts have been used for years in the UK and Europe. Studies have found articulated vehicles are more prone to over turning in roundabouts.

Trucks and CMVs overturn for two main reasons: the vehicle is going too fast or the driver turns too quickly, usually resulting in loss of control.

While roundabouts can be safer, drivers need to drive safer as vehicles are close together and events can happen quickly in a roundabout.

Inadequate surveillance is one of the top 10 factors in truck crashes, according to the DOT. Drivers miss cues or are distracted and are not able to properly respond. Generally, roundabouts or traffic circles will have a sign or two before their placement showing its design or type.  The U.S. DOT recommends that this signage be modified to reflect the number and alignment of approaches. Other signs warn drivers to stay right, advise of an appropriate speed, and to yield the right of way.

Traveling too fast for conditions is another of the top 10 factors is truck crashes. A key characteristic of the roundabout is a slower than normal speed, usually 20 miles per hour or lower. Sometimes the posted speed may be in the 30 to 35 MPH range. But because the roundabout is, well, round or circular by definition, CMV drivers need to drive 10 miles per hour under that speed.

Avoid Conflicts

CMV drivers in a roundabout also need to be mindful of:

  • Following too close
  • Familiarity with the roadway
  • Illegal maneuvers (other vehicles suddenly stopping or swerving)
  • Yielding to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Other vehicles next to them or attempting to pass

I would further recommend motor carriers incorporate a roundabout on the driver’s road test.

Love them or hate them, roundabouts are a fact of modern driving and we might as well get used to them . . .

Resource: How to Drive a Multi-Lane Roundabout (Semi-trucks with Trailers) WI-DOT

Thank you for reading this.

Stay in the “Right Lane”

Fatal Toronto crash

Stay Right

A basic rule of driving safety is to stay in the right lane. It’s not only a good guideline, but in many states it’s the law: stay right unless passing then get back over. Some highways ban commercial vehicles from the far left lane.

The right lane is the traveling lane for commercial vehicles.

Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport has put out a video reminding drivers to stay in the right lane or “right” lane.

There are a number of good reasons the right lane can be safer. One reason is that the right lane less kinetic than the left lane. Traffic is usually a little slower and on a divided highway, there’s more space separating your vehicle from oncoming traffic.

Another important factor is giving yourself an “out” (remember the Smith System), if you need to get over quickly.

If there are multi-lanes going in the same direction, with a lot of heavy traffic leaving the road or merging back on, then sometimes the center lane is a safe bet to avoid stop and go traffic, but leave plenty of following distance in case traffic does stop.

Dec 27 2016 Fatal Bronx Crash

On Dec 27, 2016, three occupants of this pickup traveling in the center lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway were fatally injured when the tractor trailer in front of them stopped, but the one behind them did not. 

Of course there are times you need to go to the left lane. If you are coming up on a left-leading exit, then pre-positioning your vehicle for the exit lane is a good idea.

Tip: Keep white on the right. A solid white line on the right hand side of the vehicle means you are travelling in the correct direction. A yellow line on your right side could indicate you are travelling in an oncoming lane!

It is the law in every state to move over a lane if police or emergency vehicles are in the right lane or on the right shoulder. Even if it’s not the law, it’s a safe driving courtesy to give extra space to broken-down vehicles on the shoulder.

Another good rule to follow is to avoid making any unnecessary lane changes. Lane changes are considered a hazardous maneuver.

In our last blog, a recent single-vehicle collision was highlighted, resulting in a number of steel beams cutting through the cab. Wouldn’t you know it . . . the driver wasn’t in the right-most lane . . .

Left lane collision

Thank you for reading this. Many thanks to Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport,

Load Securement: The Real Deal for Steel

I-94 Incident 10-18-2016

“East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’,
We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done.
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run”–Jerry Reed

East Bound and Down

The driver was heading eastbound on I-94, near Ann Arbor. At around 2 PM on October 18, 2016, authorities were notified of a single vehicle incident that took place near Scio Church Road.

Like many crashes, details are sketchy. Fortunately, the driver was not injured and walked away from the scene.

“The beams broke free and some went through the cab and front windshield, just missing the driver,” said Michigan State Police Sgt. Jeffery Munoz.

One report says the driver mashed on his brakes because a car cut him off.

In any case, a number heavy steel beams and smaller steel pieces narrowly missed the driver as they sliced through the cab and continued through the front windshield.

Post-Incident Consequences

Who should pay for this crash?

Most of us would say, well, the insurance company, right? The carrier had insurance, didn’t they?

Of course the carrier is required to have minimum amounts of auto liability and physical damage. These policies do not cover cargo or freight.

Cargo insurance, also known as motor truck cargo (MTC) insurance, is a form of inland marine insurance, that covers physical loss or damage (but not liability-related losses).

Or does it?

When it comes to cargo, the rights, duties and liabilities of shippers and carriers under federal law are governed under a 1935 law known as Carmack, (49 U.S.C. §14706–Liability of carriers under receipts and bills of lading), as well as general principles of federal transportation law. The federal Carmack Amendment applies to the interstate shipments of regulated commodities, under a bill of lading.

State laws apply to intrastate shipments, and when the provisions of Carmack 49 USC § 14101(b) have been waived.

Carmack defines transportation as: services related to that movement, including arranging for, receipt, . . . storage, handling, packing, unpacking, and interchange of passengers and property. (49 U.S.C. § 13102(23))

One way to cover potential liabilities under Carmack is by cargo insurance. Motor Truck Cargo insurance (Cargo) provides insurance on the freight or commodity hauled by a For-hire trucker.

If the insurance company pays on a claim, it may not end there. The insurance company has a right to reimbursement from the motor carrier for any claims outside the scope of its coverage.

An example would be an an exceptional shipment, such as an over-dimensional item. Policies might contain Unattended Truck Exclusions (unless the vehicle is in a secure area as a building, or under constant surveillance, or under guard) or a “72-Hour Storage Exclusion” if the trailer or semi trailer is detached from the power unit for seventy-two (72) consecutive hours (Sundays and holidays excluded). The policy likely contains an “Employee Infidelity Exclusion” for damages due to mysterious disappearance, the infidelity, dishonesty or criminal act of the Insured, his employees, his agents or others to whom the cargo may be entrusted; including operators under contract to the Insured . . .

Another important exclusion would be for damages caused by improper load securement.

“This insurance does not insure the liability of the Insured for cargo damaged while in transit resulting from improper, or inept loading or improper securement.”

The most common defense raised by carriers to freight damage is “shipper fault,” according to the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). Motor carriers will allege the shipper improperly packaged or loaded the cargo.

Certain commodities like steel can be challenging to secure. Meeting the minimum federal load securement requirements may not always be enough. Sometimes extra securement devices and/or dunnage are necessary and should be the rule, not the exception, to prevent the possibility of a costly cargo claim or worse.

Thank you for reading this.

When to Update/Upgrade Your Trucking Technology

trucking technology

When is the Right Time?

“Most mistakes are made before the club is swung,” said the late master golf coach and pro, Harvey Penick.

Penick’s advice was to review the fundamentals, if one’s play was poor. Grip, stance, aim and ball position are success factors in placing the ball where you want it.

In this time of the so-called ‘digital disruption,’ anyone involved in transportation needs to review the fundamental success factors as well. One important success factor in trucking is technology.

digital boardroom

Digital boardroom technology

When is the best time to invest in technology to insure your success factors are in place? Which technology should we choose? What is the next thing?

New Organizational Capability.

The first consideration should be that any technology is not an end game in of itself. Adding a new technology can be counterproductive or even wasteful, if one does not know how to use it or doesn’t fully use it.

A few years back a major, west-coast distributor upgraded their core software system, but it didn’t work as planned. The experience resulted in millions of dollars in lost sales and almost put them out of business. They ended up closing a number of operations and are now operating at half their former size in terms of gross sales. Oops . . .

Tip: Adding a technology should result in a new organizational capability.

A technology should result in becoming better, more efficient, and more capable.

Highest Business Impact

Look at the value to the business, not the cost. Assign resources to the technologies with the greatest impact on the business.

There is no single road map that will work for everyone. That’s because every organization is a little different.

Tip: Technology maturity and its future readiness must be understood.

hype cycles

Hype cycles reflect the over-enthusiasm, or “hype,” and subsequent disappointment that typically follow the introduction of new technologies.

Don’t Wait . . .

Engaging with technology too late can be as bad as engaging too early. All technologies require a learning curve, training, and, to be successful, are about change, in particular, changed behavior.

Tip: If behavior hasn’t changed, then it wasn’t learned. A true learning experience means behavior will be different.

Without making mistakes, there is no learning. Without learning, there is no progress.

Help your staff make progress. Let them know it’s okay to try things out, experiment, and even fail. Things will not work right from the get-go.

Summary

When is the best time to invest in technology to insure your success factors are in place? Which technology should we choose? What is the next thing?

The answers for every organization will vary and may result in more questions. Doing something, however, is far, far better than doing nothing, because once you have taken action you can always learn from what doesn’t work and change direction.

Thank you for reading this.

Wanted: “Geeky” Leaders

Leaders of Tomorrow

Data, Data, Everywhere

Organizations of all sizes literally have mountains of operational data available at their fingertips. One common problem, that just won’t go away, is no one in operations or safety does much or anything with it as they should. Trends are missed and opportunities are foregone.

On November 14th through 15th, the Annual WSJ CEO Council was held to discuss  “trade, education, regulation, energy policy, immigration, national security and other matters directly affecting business.”

One of the speakers at this year’s CEO Council meeting was Andrew McAfee, co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT. McAfee spoke on “The Future of Jobs” and the importance of leadership style in what some now call the Second Industrial Revolution.

Common Themes and Consistent Patterns

McAfee sees five common themes and consistent patterns in “the companies that are creating the future.”

  1. They are bold and not afraid of making big bets.
  2. They move in a series of small, but rapid steps.
  3. Their strategic vision remains, but plans go no further than three to six months.
  4. They are dominated by evidence.
  5. They are open minded.

McAfee says these days the dominant mode for decision making is to rely on what he calls are the HiPPOs–the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.

Should a problem arise, says McAfee, everyone turns to the highest paid person in the room and asks, “Oh, HiPPO, what shall we do?”

McAfee suggests, instead, problems need to be solved by first looking at the preponderance of evidence (the data) and then go where it tells you to go. Then act on this new information. McAfee calls this “Geeky Leadership.”

The traditional method of problem solving–asking the HiPPO for an opinion–may not serve your organization well. A much better alternative is to conduct small scale experiments or pilot programs and find out what works or doesn’t work. Then let the hard evidence and facts be your guide, not a persuasive pitch or personality.

“This is what I see the excellent companies doing–over and over.” Andrew McAfee

McAfee intentionally avoided using the word “technology.” Technology is a given. There are many technological changes occurring all around us. It’s truly mind boggling at times.

For the most part, these changes will be good . . . in the sense they will contribute to a greater rise in the overall standards of living for most people. If your company or career is caught in the cross-hairs of change, your opinion may differ.

To protect your company (and your career), look for ways to take advantage of your available data streams, and always be ready to present this information when needed. You are probably already doing this, but if not, plan on having more data and facts to support whatever you are doing.

Thank you for reading this.