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Safety

06 Aug

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Creating a Compliant Authorized Passenger Policy

August 6, 2013 | By |

Frequently clients inquire about the limitations and allowances of passengers inside their truck.  We at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency recommend that non-employee passengers not be allowed in vehicles operated under your authority.  However, if a passenger program is considered an essential element in the retention of quality drivers, we recommend that you have a well planned, well documented, and consistently followed passenger policy in place as a risk management practice to reduce your exposure to claims made by non-employee passengers.  In addition a passenger policy should also comply with requirements outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

Per Section 392.60(a) of the Act, drivers must have specific authorization from the motor carrier in order to bring a passenger along in the truck.  The motor carrier should issue their authorization to transport in writing and include the following elements:

  1. The name of passenger
  2. The beginning and ending points of transport
  3. The date when the drivers authority to transport a person will expire

Written authorization is not required when a fellow employee has been assigned to ride along in a vehicle or if the driver is transporting someone who is providing aid as the result of an accident or emergency.

The Department of Transportation’s interpretation of the Rule provides that the written authorization does not have to be in the truck, but simply on file at the motor carrier’s office.  However, it would be a best practice to require that a copy accompany the driver.

Would you like assistance developing an Authorized Passenger Policy?  Call us now at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented.

06 May

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Jason’s Law

May 6, 2013 | By |

Jason’s Law

 

Recently out on the road I passed a truck with a sign posted on his truck that read, “I support Jason’s Law.”  Working so close to the trucking industry, I was a little embarrassed that I was not familiar with this law.  A quick Google search informed me that “Jason’s Law” is and initiative to provide increased safety for our hard working truck drivers while out on the road.  The bill was passed by the Senate on March 13, 2012 by a 74 to 22 vote.

For anyone unfamiliar, here is a run down of how the bill got its start and where it hopes to go:

1.)    It was created to honor Jason Riverburg, who was tragically robbed and murdered in March 2009 while staging for a delivery he was running early for.  Corporate policy made it impossible for him to park and wait to unload at the delivering location, so instead he stopped at an abandoned gas station twelve miles away; one he had heard another driver recently use.

2.)    The law aims to provide increased protection and safety for drivers who must stop in order to comply with JIT requirements or hours of service laws by requiring companies to allow drivers to stage inside safe facilities for up to twelve (12) hours before or after pickup/delivery.

3.)    The law proposes to create off highway “bullpens”, granting drivers a safe location to stage in the event a company is unable to comply with the requirement to allow on-sight staging.

4.)    Additionally, the law hopes to increase the availability and security of public rest stops.

5.)    After the law passed in March 2012, the Department of Transportation is now in the process of surveying the currently available parking facilities within each State to see if they are adequate for accommodating driver need.

6.)    This law is supported by the following organizations:

  1. American Trucking Association (ATA)
  2. Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA)
  3. National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO)
  4. American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)
  5. Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)

To learn more about Jason’s Law visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jasons-Law-HB-2156-SAFE-PARKING-FOR-TRUCKERS/192353475073, follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JasonsLaw or their website at http://jhlrivenburg.com/cgi/wp/.

15 Feb

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Safety Belts – More Than Just a Policy

February 15, 2012 | By |

In the transportation industry we regularly see the inclusion of a Safety Belt policy as part of the standard safety manual.  It goes without saying that we should be wearing our safety belts given the daily exposure to catastrophic accidents that can result in severe bodily injury and even death, right?  Well, the truth is that many drivers, despite signed pledges and policies, still do not routinely wear their safety belts.  This month I wanted to dispel some common misconceptions regarding seat belt usage in order to address why seatbelts are so incredibly important to the health and safety of professional drivers and provide some tips to make certain your seat belt is fitted correctly.

 

First let’s take a look at some common misconceptions regarding seat belt usage.  Following are nine commonly held “myths” as published U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

1.)    Safety belts are uncomfortable and restrict movement:  When properly adjusted drivers should feel neither uncomfortable nor restricted in movement. 

2.)    Wearing a safety belt is a personal decision that doesn’t affect anyone else:  This is simply not true.  Your decision not to wear your seatbelt can impact your family, friends, employer and co-workers.  It can also impact other motorists as being properly restrained in the event of a crash can allow you better control of your vehicle.

3.)    Safety belts prevent your escape from a burning or submerged vehicle: Hard to escape a burning or submerged vehicle if you’ve been knocked unconscious from hitting your head.  Also, did you know that less than two percent of crashes involves fire or submersion? 

4.)    It’s better to be thrown clear of the wreckage in the event of a crash: The fact is, you are four times more likely to die if you are thrown from your vehicle during an accident. 

5.)    It takes too much time to fasten your seat belt twenty times a day:  With a total time investment of one minute per day (roughly three seconds per buckle), the cost is nothing compared to the potential life saving benefit.

6.)    Good truck drivers don’t need to wear safety belts:  Good truck drivers might be able to avoid causing accidents, but you cannot control the drivers on the road around you.  And being a good driver alone won’t prevent you from head or spinal cord injuries in the event of an accident.

7.)    Your truck will protect you.  You don’t need a seat belt:  According to the FMCSA, in 2006, 805 drivers and occupants of large trucks died in truck crashes and 393 were not wearing safety belts.  Of the 217 drivers and occupants who were killed and ejected from their vehicles, 81% were not wearing safety belts.

8.)    Safety belts aren’t necessary for low-speed driving:  In a frontal collision where the driver was driving 30 mph, an unbelted person will continue to move forward and hit the windshield at 30 mph.  Translation?  This is the same velocity a person falling a three story building would experience when hitting the ground.

9.)    A lap belt offers sufficient protection:  The lap and shoulder belt have been designed to work together to keep a driver properly restrained and in control of his rig in the event of a crash.

 

With these misconceptions clarified, let’s take a look at a few tips to help make certain your seat belt is properly fitted:

1.)    The shoulder strap should be across the center of the chest and center of the shoulder, not under the arm or behind the back

2.)    The correct position of the lap belt is 2 – 4” below the waist and against the thighs.

3.)    The buckle shouldn’t be positioned in the stomach or abdominal area.

4.)    The shoulder belt should not be too tight or rub against the neck nor should it be too loose or loosen during travel.

 

Do you have questions regarding safety belt usage or fit, or would you like assistance designing a safety belt policy for your company’s safety handbook?  Call our offices today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.

14 Jul

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Drug and Alcohol Testing and the FMCSA

July 14, 2010 | By |

I regularly receive phone calls from clients asking me if they have to test their drivers for drugs and alcohol when they are involved in an accident.  I generally advise my clients that taking a zero tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol is in their company’s (and their employees’ and the general public’s) best interest.  Having a written drug and alcohol policy in place that clearly communicates the company will drug and alcohol test any employee involved in accident, no matter how minor, is a good plan.  Be sure to have your employees sign off on the policy, confirming they have not only received it, but have read and understood it, as well. 

 

But what I often find my client really needs to know is whether the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require a driver to be tested for drugs and alcohol following an accident that has just occurred.  In an effort to help clients out we created a “Drug and Alcohol Testing” data sheet.  The data sheet provides you an attractive color copy “decision tree” that you can print and post on a bulletin board for future quick reference.  Among the questions asked are:

 

1.)    Did the accident involve a commercial motor vehicle you own or is leased on to you?

a.       If No, no test is required

b.       If Yes, proceed to question 2.

2.)    Did the accident occur on a public road?

a.       If No, no test is required

b.       If Yes, proceed to question 3.

3.)    Did any person involved in the accident require immediate medical treatment away from the scene of the accident, AND was your employee cited for a moving traffic violation by law enforcement, or did the accident involve a fatality?

a.       If No, no test required.

b.       If Yes, you must test.

 

The FMCSA regulations require alcohol and drug testing of drivers who are required to have a CDL.  The regulations include procedures for urine drug testing and breath alcohol testing.  A driver must be tested after an accident that resulted in a fatality regardless of fault.  Accidents that include bodily injury or a vehicle that needs to be towed require a driver to be testing only if that driver is issued a citation.

 

Alcohol tests must be taken within two to eight hours after the accident.  Drug tests must be taken within 32 hours of the accident.  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a driver must be available for testing, or it might be assumed the driver has refused testing.  A refusal is considered the same as a positive test. 

 

Do you have questions regarding FMCSA regulations or need help developing a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy?  Give us at call at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President

17 Jun

By

Safety Programming Free of Charge!

June 17, 2009 | By |

It often surprises me that while the insurance companies we represent each offer comprehensive safety programming to their clients, few take advantage of the tools available.  There is no additional cost for this programming and for a small company it is almost like having a safety director at your immediate disposal. 

 

For those of you who may not realize, below is an outline of some of the commonly offered safety programs, materials and services available through the majority of insurance companies who specialize in trucking:

 

Driver File Reviews:  At your request a safety rep will stop out to your office to review your drivers’ files to make certain they are compliant.  Some companies even offer printed guides to help you set up driver files correctly from the start and answer frequently asked questions.


DOT Audit Reviews:  Similar to a driver file review, safety reps can also review your files prior to an anticipated DOT audit, or any other time, to make certain you are compliant and point out any potential issues. 

 

Samples of and Recommendations for Formal Safety Programs:  Safety reps love to help in the development of a formal safety program.  They can outline the policies that are ideally included in a formal program and suggest specific verbiage or places to obtain verbiage to get you started in the process.

 

Driver Recognition Programs:  Looking for a way to recognize your drivers for their outstanding service?  Driver recognition programs are a great (and low cost) option.  Many insurance companies offer certificates or give away items free of charge which may be used as acknowledgement of outstanding performance.  Your safety rep can also suggest a basis for your driver recognition program.  Examples include highest number of loss free miles, outstanding customer relations, best DOT inspection record and so forth. 

 

Loss Control Consultation:  Many companies will review your loss history to see if preventable patterns of loss can be identified, which will allow you to complete appropriate driver retraining.  These consultations can be conducted either on site or through information gathered by fax or email. 

 

Answers to Safety and Compliance Questions:  Safety reps gladly make themselves available by phone to answer questions that arise regarding safety and compliance.  Examples include compliance laws for operating in specific states or Canada, how to address DOT safety ratings on Safer and understanding new legislation relating to hours of service. 

 

Safety Meetings:  Would you like help planning a formal safety meeting?  How about having a speaker the next time you meet with drivers?  Most safety reps are willing to come out for a formal meeting and speak to your drivers for no cost.  They are also willing to help facilitate a meeting or plan topics for discussion.  


Safety Training Videos:  Most insurance companies offer for loan a wide selection of VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs addressing safety topics.  The only cost to you is the postage to return the video when you are done.  For a complete listing of videos available to you, just call your Account Executive or your safety rep.

 

Printed Safety Materials:  Printed materials are available for a wide range of topics, including: tips for reducing work comp claims, safety posters, instructions on completing pre-trip inspections, post-accident drug/alcohol testing procedures, completing daily driver logs and information regarding hazmat regulations, training and security plan development.

 

All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.  Don’t see something you’d like help with?  Give us a call (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  We’d be happy to see if what you are looking for is available.

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President