FDA Safety Course for Food Haulers

 

Highway truck

Training Requirements

Motor carriers hauling food products need to maintain training records for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as required by the ‘Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule.’

If you are involved with food or temperature-controlled food cargo in the supply chain, the rule likely applies. See the chart below for any exceptions to the rule.

Smaller fleets are exempt from this rule if they have less than $500,000 in gross annual revenue.

The requirements of the new rule include:

  • Trailers are properly pre-cooled
  • Proof of shipment temperatures can be provided
  • Standardized operating procedures are in effect for the cleaning, sanitizing and inspection of the trailer.

The FDA has a new online training course for motor carriers and their drivers. Click here: Sanitary Transportation Rule training.

sanitary transportation rule

 

I took the course. There are several modules and a few questions after each part. Depending on how fast you read, it will take 20 to 40 minutes. At the end there is a form to print a out a certificate. Keep a copy for your records, and perhaps write the date on the back.

If your company is in the food supply chain, I would recommend having all of your drivers take this online FDA course.

FDA Food Safety Certificate

Thank you for reading this.

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John Taratuta, Risk Engineer, 989-474-9599

 

 

ELD Tips

Roadside Inspection

Quick Tip

Last week in his Fleetup.com webinar, Samuel Mayfield passed on an excellent tip that applies to the carriers who might be late-adopters of the ELD mandate and perhaps experiencing technical or other issues.

Have a DOT roadside inspection done before April 1st to see if unit passes muster and any ancillary requirements (spare logsheets, instruction card, data exchange, etc) are met. On April 1st, full enforcement of the ELD mandate will go into effect, and it might be good to know if the system is functional and operates legally. Some drivers have reported ELD problems.

Mystery Mileage . . .

“For those companies who are subject to the ELD Mandate, make sure your drivers are not “killing” the app on their cell phone or tablet while On Duty (if your ELD solution uses such). Doing so creates UDRs that will need to be addressed later and sometimes will result in lost data.” Samuel Mayfield

UDRs are Unidentified Driving Reports, also called Unidentified Driving Events (UDEs), or Unidentified Driving (UD) by some device makers. All miles driven must be assigned to a driver.

If no driver is assigned to a vehicle’s ELD while that vehicle is in motion, the ELD will likely flag that as unidentified driving. Unidentified driving could happen if a driver fails to log on or if an unassigned driver (for example, a shop mechanic doing a road check) would operate the vehicle.

Unidentified driving that is assigned to a driver needs to be acknowledged and approved by the driver.

Document how you track and allocate all unassigned unidentified driving.

(1 minute 21 second video)

Any products or services mentioned above are for informational purposes only.

Thank you for reading this.

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John Taratuta, Risk Engineer, 989-474-9599

FMCSA Answers Your Top ELD Industry Questions

paperless logging is here

The FMCSA Speaks

On Monday, March 12, 2018, Teletrac Navman and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted an hour-long webinar and Question and Answer session on Phase II of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

Bill Mahorney, Division Chief at the FMCSA, and LaTonya Minns, Transportation Specialist at the FMCSA updated listeners on what is happening regarding the deployment of ELDs by motor carriers.

  1. If you needed to do paper logs (also know as a record of duty status—RODS), then you need to have an ELD in your truck.
  2. There is an Agriculture Exemption under 49 CFR 395.1(k). Agricultural operations. The provisions of this part shall not apply during planting and harvesting periods, as determined by each State, to drivers transporting (1) Agricultural commodities from the source of the agricultural commodities to a location within a 150 air-mile radius from the source;(2) Farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale or retail distribution point of the farm supplies to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 150 air-mile radius from the distribution point; or(3) Farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale distribution point of the farm supplies to a retail distribution point of the farm supplies within a 150 air-mile radius from the wholesale distribution point.
  3. If an Ag exempt driver stays within the 150 air-mile radius (about 172 miles), then that time is hours-of-service exempt and does not need to be recorded or counted, unless one goes outside the radius.
  4. The term ‘Nominal Hours of Service’ refers to minor infractions that an enforcement officer can, at their discretion, cite as such. In general they refer to an hours of service violation that is 15 minutes or less in duration.
  5. If an ELD (or AOBRD) malfunctions, the driver must notify his carrier within 24 hours and then recast their previous 7-days of logs, and continue to manually record their logs on paper until the unit is repaired. If it will take longer than 8 days, they need to contact and notify their area FMCSA office to report the issue and continue to use paper logs.
  6. Driver must record their End of Day activities, if not driving. It was recommended to change your duty status and then off off the unit, complete your work, then log back in and fill in the missing details.
  7. Edits. Upload the information before requesting an edit.The driver has the option of declining the edit or assigned miles.
  8. An exempt driver can be a driver who is driving an ELD-equipped vehicle, but not required to log their miles. He would have an ‘exempt driver account’ with the carrier.
  9. An unidentified driver is someone who drove a CMV but did not login on the ELD. All unidentified driver mileage needs to be assigned to a driver by the carrier.
  10. Edits. There can be no shrinking of the driving time. The only exception might be a team-driver who had not properly logged off and other driver drove for him.
  11. Drivers will be placed out-of-service on or after April 1, 2018 if they do not have an ELD and it is required.
  12. In the case of independent contractors (ICs) or Owner-operators, if you are running under the carrier’s authority (their DOT number), then it’s the carrier’s responsibility to keep the ELD logs. If it is your authority, then you are responsible.
  13. Personal conveyance guidelines or regulations are in the works, but have not been finalized.

The key thing is to make sure you have the proper documentation for the unit, know what to do if the unit fails, and know your exemptions (ag, drive-away/tow-away, etc) if you are exempt.

Stay tuned for more EDL updates.

Thank you for reading this.

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John Taratuta, Risk Engineer, 989-474-9599

 

 

 

Reading the Federal Regulations

truck convoy

Bit O’ Trucking History

Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, which regulated motor carrier transportation under the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) until January 1, 1996, when the ICC was discontinued.

All “Acts” and other federal laws are codified in the Code of Laws of the United States of America, also known as United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC.

One of the first trucking rules the ICC issued in 1937 was No. MC-2, which established the Hours of Service rules. Although the Hours of Service have been modified over the years, such rules are not part of the United States Code, but part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). (See www.ecfr.gov)

How to Read or Cite the CFRs

The CFR is divided into 50 subject matter titles. Title 49 CFR covers Transportation. The titles are further divided into chapters, parts, sections and paragraphs.

49 CFR 395 is read as: Title 49, part 395 (the part for Hours of Service or HOS).

The part number is divided from the section number by a period. The order of the sections is numerical: 395.1, 395.2, 395.3 . . . 395.15, etc.

49 CFR 395.11(c)(1) would be read as “title 49, part 395, section 11, paragraph (c)(1).”

The section symbol, §, may be used to shorten a citation: § 395.11(c)(1). The section symbol always “stands alone.”

The Federal agency in charge of enforcing and occasionally updating the Hours of Service regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA has jurisdiction over any regulated drivers and motor carriers.

Definitions of HOS terms used by the FMCSA are generally found in § 390.5 or § 395.2. For example:

Driver means any person who operates any commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

An automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) is a device that meets the requirements of § 395.15 Automatic on-board recording devices. All AOBRDs  placed into service before December 18, 2017, need to be replaced with ELDs before December 16, 2019.

An electronic logging device (ELD) is a device used to electronically and automatically collect information needed for HOS requirement compliance, replacing (but not totally eliminating) paper log books (also known as the Record of Duty Status or RODS)

Driving time means all time spent at the driving controls of a commercial motor vehicle in operation, per §395.2 Definitions.

Most of the terms in the regulations are defined in the beginning of each section.

How to Flip Between the USC and CFRs?

Sometimes it is necessary to see what the intent of the lawmakers was when they wrote the law by going back to the USC. Some aspects of transportation law (disclaimer I am not an attorney) may not be clearly codified in the CRFs. There is a better way than trying to Goggle what you want to find—the Table of Parallel Authorities (opens in .pdf).

Regulated drivers, safety managers, driver supervisors and company management should be more than familiar with the rules that govern safe highway use. One of the better ways is to keep a copy nearby. Knowing what the regulations say is the great foundation for any safety program.

Get a Copy of the Code of Federal Regulations

There are at least three vendors who sell the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. All motor carriers and drivers should have a current copy (not over a year old).

Thank you for reading this. Please visit our website for more information on how to increase profitability in the surface transportation business.

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John Taratuta, Risk Engineer, Ph. 989-474-9599

 

 

 

 

Brakes or No Brakes—Stay in Control

Dump truck crashes on 2222

The dump lost its brakes, went through the intersection and hit several vehicles before it went off the bridge off of Texas 2222.

Brake Check!

Professional drivers do a brake check before starting the day AND before fully committing to a downgrade.

This can mean daily doing those ‘dumb’ checks required by the CDL test like the Air Brake Leak Down Test and the Stall Test, and fully stroking the brakes by pressing the pedal to the floor—so the automatic slack adjusters (ASAs) stay in adjustment.

           Air-Brake Check Checklist

Chock or Block wheels and start the engine

Build air pressure up to 120 PSI

Turn engine off

Release the parking/trailer brakes (push knob(s) in/down) After air pressure stabilizes wait 1 minute

Air Pressure should drop no more than 3 PSI in a minute Hold the brake pedal down firmly

After pressure stabilizes hold pedal for 1 minute

Listen for audible air leaks

Air pressure should drop no more than 3 PSI in one minute (tractor only) or 4 PSI in 1 minute if combination unit

Turn the ignition switch on (but not the engine)

Pump the brake pedal until the low air warning buzzer sounds at 60 PSI

Continue to pump brake pedal until the red brake button pops out between 20 & 45 PSI

Remove chocks/blocks

If a trailer is attached:

With trailer brakes applied and tractor brakes released, complete 2 firm tug tests to be sure the trailer brakes are properly adjusted and hold against the tug

When the truck is in motion apply the service brakes to be sure they are operational

 

Check the Brakes before a Downgrade, Too . . .

The integrity of the brake system needs to be checked before a downgrade as well. It only takes a second to see if you have some pedal. And be sure to place the vehicle in the proper gear for the grade.

Why Are Daily Brake Checks Necessary?

Daily brake checks are necessary for several reasons:

  • All equipment degrades over time due to wear and tear. Drivers then start to adjust their driving behavior to compensate for the failing performance of the brake system. There have been serious crashes where it was later found that only one of the foundation brakes were properly working and in adjustment.
  • We need to catch things before bigger problems occur
  • Sometimes adjustments are made that compromise the system (slacks are backed off by mistake, or air lines mis-routed during a service—It happens!)
  • Your life and the lives of the public are on the line
  • Brake citations—year after year—are the number one citation during roadside inspections

Stay in Control

A cardinal rule of diving is always keep the vehicle under control—no matter the situation. It is never a good situation when a driver loses control of the vehicle.

Daily brake checks can catch a small problem before it turns into a big problem, help keep the ASAs in proper adjustment, and help the driver to always stay in control.

Thank you for reading this.

Learn more about brake inspections:  Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspections

Winter Driving Woes . . .

Tesla pulling truck in NC

Tesla assisting a semi in North Carolina

No Traction—No Action

Those of us living in the snow belt fully experience winter in all its glory. For truck drivers it means breaking out the anti-gel, chains—when needed, gallons of window wash, and brushing off your dormant winter driving skills.

Know, know, know . . .

Commercial drivers also need to know when to use the “diff lock” (Inter-Axle Differential (IAD) Lock, also known as the Power Divider) and, perhaps more importantly, when not to use it.

Due to the significant number of failures surrounding the Inter-Axle Differential (IAD) Lock, also known as the Power Divider, there is confusion and frustration with the proper use of this component. The IAD is often referred to as the “weak link” of your truck’s drive train and can be a big unexpected maintenance cost. If you catch the damage early through oil analysis tests the repair can cost $1600, but if it progresses to a catastrophic failure, it can cost up to $7000. —Team Run Smart

In addition to your vehicle’s special safety features as the diff lock, winter driving techniques need to be reviewed with all of your drivers.

According to education expert Ulrich Boser, author of Learn Better (Amazon’s 2017 best science book of the year), experience isn’t always the best teacher—we have to make sense of what we know or think we know. Mastery is not the same as familiarity. Many experienced drivers have never used chains, know about anti-gel fuel conditioners, how to avoid a skid, or how to use their vehicle’s safety features, etc.

Driving on An Icy Patch

Drivers need to be aware of road ice, especially on bridges and in shaded areas. Sudden braking on ice can cause a skid and loss of control. Sometimes even taking your foot off of the fuel pedal can induce a skid—defined as uneven tire rotation. A driver should press the clutch in (with a manual transmission) or slide the shifter into Neutral with an automatic transmission, and roll over the ice until safe control of the vehicle can be regained.

Driving on Snow

Truck tires can be warm coming off a roadway. Ice easily forms when the vehicle is parked on a snow-covered . Keep some sand in the truck for extra grip. A chain can be placed under the tire.

A key technique when driving on snow is to not spin the tires when starting. Spinning the tires can form more ice. A much better technique is to ease off into a slow start. One way to get rolling in the snow is to start in a higher gear. Drivers are usually very surprised how well this works in snow.

Check Driver’s Knowledge . . . and Review

To know if your drivers make sense of driving in winter or any other season, it is wise to check their understanding. This can take the form of a pre-training questionnaire, pop-quiz during training, a formal assessment or a combination of the above.

If knowledge is not up to snuff, then a safety review is needed. Training adults is not the same as instructing juveniles. Content and materials need to be useful, relevant, and presented in a respectful manner. In addition, the adult learner needs to feel comfortable and at ease during the process.

Be sure your drivers have the right Knowledge, Skills or Attitudes (KSAs) to successfully negotiate driving in deep snow and in any other condition this winter.

Thank you for reading this. Much success in 2018.

Learn more about inspections: Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspections

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.