ELD Mandate: Rerouting the Trucking Industry

Deadline to Comply Looms Near

On December 18th, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate goes into effect nationwide. The days when truckers could log their miles and hours by hand will soon be in the rearview.

Enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD mandate requires truckers to purchase and link a computerized device to their rig’s engine and onboard system. ELDs capture truckers every move: whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, and where the vehicle is located.

Some large companies, such as FedEx and UPS, have already been utilizing these devices. However, the majority of owner-operators have not.

Under the mandate, truckers will have limited driving time. 11 hours of driving a day within a 14 hour workday. Also, there is a requirement to take 10 consecutive off-duty hours per day.

Less Fatigue or Less Patience?

The intent of these embedded time-trackers is to greatly reduce roadway accidents. ELDs aim to do that by eliminating inaccurate reporting and minimizing the number of fatigued drivers. However, many truckers argue this will only add pressure to their already deadline-driven jobs, which, in turn, will outweigh the positives of reduced fatigue.

In an article by Overdrive Magazine, Darrell Wright, an owner-operator of a three-truck company, explains how this mandate may actually cause more hazardous driving. “If I’m driving 74 miles per hour and I see a car easing up on me, I will usually let off and let the car go on, but after the ELDs go into effect I can’t give that courtesy anymore because every time I let off the accelerator I lose money,” said Wright.

Trading Autonomy for Information

Another concern is data collection. To the FMCSA, constant collection will benefit the industry by clearly communicating driver, truck, and route trends. For example, ELDs can precisely track time spent waiting for loading and unloading. This will expose companies who are consistently making drivers wait unreasonable lengths of time. Theoretically resulting in more efficient shippers.

However, trucking has historically been one of the most independent professions. The idea of being tracked, monitored, and rigidly regulated leaves an unconstitutional taste in the mouths of free-spirited truckers. Most of whom already know their jobs can be done without data pools of information.

Indeed, such a sophisticated device creates a vulnerability to hacking and potential risk to drivers hauling sensitive cargo.

During an interview with Q13 Fox news, President of the United Independent Truckers of America, Harry Singh, said “This is a violation of our privacy.” Singh went on to say, “Having the tracking system in our trucks will allow the government to track us 24 hours a day and that’s not good for privacy and it’s not good for safety reasons.”

With less than one week before the deadline, the FMCSA remains full speed ahead. This, despite legislative delay attempts and ongoing truck-stop protests. Once implemented, a driver caught without an ELD can be fined or even be placed out of service.

New Product: Sliding Ratchet Strap

Easy-to-Use Tie Downs

US Cargo Control has added a convenient new sliding ratchet strap that secures light- to medium-duty cargo to our full line of cargo securement products.

This one-piece sliding ratchet strap works well for normal, everyday use. The strap is made with industrial-grade webbing, and is 1.25 inches wide and eight feet long. Vinyl-coated S-hooks on each end help to tie down cargo.

Sliding Ratchet Strap
Sliding Ratchet Strap

The sliding ratchet strap is a great tool for the weekend warrior needing to secure cargo such as furniture, coolers or recreational vehicles in the back of their pickup or trailer. Because the strap has a higher break strength and working load limit than our traditional 1-inch straps, it is also appropriate for professionals who don’t require heavier-duty straps.

Sliding ratchet straps are remarkably easy to use to tie down your cargo and ensure you have the leverage necessary to tighten and secure your load.

Sliding Ratchet Strap Storage
Sliding Ratchet Strap Storage

Instead of the ratchet being in a fixed location, the user can adjust the position of the ratchet making it easier to position in a spot where you’ll have plenty of room to tighten and release. The user has the freedom to place the ratchet in whichever location is convenient each time the strap is ratcheted.

These straps have an assembly break strength of 2,000 lbs. and a working load limit of 667 lbs. They are priced affordably, at $6.99 each, so you can equip all your applications without breaking the bank.

Easy Storage and Maintenance

Storing these compact straps is very easy. Care and maintenance for these straps includes spraying the straps after each use with water to wash off any dirt or grime. You may use a mild soap, but it’s not necessary. Make sure the unit is fully dry before rolling up and securing with the attached Velcro strap.

How to Use a Sliding Ratchet Strap

US Cargo Control also offers a full line of ratchet straps ranging from light-duty to heavy-duty, as well as other tie down straps and systems.

For questions about these new sliding ratchet straps, or any other US Cargo Control products, call us a 866-444-9990 or visit our website.

Operation Safe Driver Week is Oct. 15-21

October 15-21, 2017 has been designated by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) as Operation Safe Driver Week.

During this event, law enforcement agencies across North America engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors. Both commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers will be included.

CVSA holds this annual campaign to combat unsafe driver behaviors that continue to be the leading cause of roadway crashes. The U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of private passenger-vehicle crashes.

According to CVSA, activities will be held across the United States, Mexico and Canada, with the goal of increasing commercial vehicle, as well as non-commercial vehicle, traffic enforcement, safety belt enforcement, driver regulatory compliance, and driver roadside inspections.

Education is also an important component in this weeklong event. Law enforcement and transportation safety officials will offer awareness safety programs to the motor carrier population and the motoring public.

Last Year’s Results

During Operation Safe Driver Week 2016, commercial motor vehicle safety enforcement officers issued citations or warnings to 20,648 commercial vehicle and private passenger vehicle drivers for unsafe driving behaviors.

Last year’s 5 most-cited unsafe behaviors by commercial motor vehicle drivers (as a percentage of total CMV warnings and citations) were:

  • State and local moving violations (56.7%)
  • Speeding (19.6%)
  • Failure to obey traffic control device (7.6%)
  • Failing to use seatbelt while operating CMV (7.1%)
  • Using a handheld phone (2.4%)

History of Operation Safe Driver Week

The Operation Safe Driver Program launched in 2007 by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations. The goal was to combat the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and private passenger vehicles by improving the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – and initiating educational and enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.

 

 

International Roadcheck 2017: More vehicles, drivers placed out of service over last year

International Roadcheck in Brandon, Iowa
Ryan Glade, a Motor Vehicle Enforcement officer with the Iowa Department of Transportation, performs an inspection during the International Roadcheck event at a state-run weigh station near Brandon, Iowa, on June 7, 2017.

International Roadcheck 2017 saw more vehicles and drivers placed out of service than last year.

The 30th annual event, sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), took place June 6-8.

Enforcement personnel conducted a total of 62,013 Level I, II and III inspections, including 54,300 in the United States and 7,713 in Canada. According to the CVSA, 19.4 percent of all commercial motor vehicles and 4.7 percent of all drivers inspected were placed out of service.

Of the 40,944 North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspections, 23 percent of vehicles and 4.2 percent of drivers were placed out of service. The 37-step procedure examines both the driver and vehicle.

Other inspections involved the Level II walk-around (12,787) and Level III driver-only (8,282).

Being rendered out of service means officials identified critical violations, and the driver cannot operate the vehicle until mechanical conditions or defects and/or driver qualifications are corrected.

In 2016, CVSA reported a total of 62,796 inspections, with 17.8 percent of vehicles and 4 percent of drivers placed out of service. Of the 42,236 Level I inspections last year, 21.5 percent of vehicles and 3.4 percent of drivers didn’t meet the pass criteria.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle inspection effort in North America. More than 13 trucks or buses are inspected, on average, every minute during a 72-hour period.

More breakdowns from the CVSA’s full report:

Vehicle violations

• The top three out-of-service violations were for brake systems (26.9 percent of vehicle out-of-service violations), cargo securement (15.7 percent) and tires/wheels (15.1 percent).

• 2,267 vehicles carrying hazardous materials or dangerous goods received a Level I Inspection; 12.8 percent were placed out of service for vehicle-related violations.

• 398 motorcoaches encountered Level I Inspections; 10.1 percent (40) were placed out of service for vehicle-related violations.

Driver violations

• The top three driver violations were for hours of service (32.3 percent), wrong class license (14.9 percent) and false log book (11.3 percent).

• Of Level I, II, and III inspections of vehicles carrying hazardous materials/dangerous goods, 1.9 percent were placed out of service for driver-related violations.

• 598 motorcoaches received Level I, II or III inspections; 3.8 percent (23) of drivers were placed out of service for driver-related violations.

• 710 safety belt violations were found.

Cargo securement emphasis

While checking for cargo securement compliance is always part of roadside inspections, this year’s International Roadcheck placed a special emphasis on this category as a reminder of its importance.

Cargo securement violations (not including hazardous materials/dangerous goods loading/securement) represented 15.7 percent of all vehicle out-of-service violations this year.

Of 3,282 instances in the United States, the top five violations related to cargo securement were:

1. Lack of proper load securement (423).

2. Unsecured vehicle equipment (379).

3. Leaking, spilling, blowing or falling cargo (281).

4. Insufficient tie downs to prevent forward movement of loads not blocked by headerboard, bulkhead or cargo (256).

5. Unsecured vehicle load (178).

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Did you know it’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week?

September 10-16, 2017 has been designated by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (#NTDAW), when America takes the time to honor all professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in tackling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs.

Recent numbers indicate there are currently 3.5 million professional drivers in the United States. This annual celebration was started in 1988 by ATA, the largest national trade association for the trucking industry, and recognizes the significant contributions of America’s truck drivers.

US Cargo Control specializes in cargo control products, and we work very closely with the trucking and transportation industry. We strive to understand the needs of this industry in order to offer the best solutions and best products. We talk to truck drivers every day, and appreciate their needs and their challenges.

What does this mean to US Cargo Control?

Todd Kuennen
Todd Kuennen, president of US Cargo Control

We enjoy the relationships we’ve built with truck drivers over the years, and Truck Driver Appreciation Week is important to us.

“Truck drivers roll coast to coast, oftentimes 24/7, to get us the goods we need and want, despite sacrificing time with families and potentially dangerous driving conditions,” said Todd Kuennen, president of US Cargo Control. “This is an opportunity for us to show gratitude for the dedication of these hardworking men and women, and raise awareness and appreciation of the critical role they play in our daily lives.”

We encourage you to check out our Facebook page and uscargocontrol.com to find out more about how we plan to celebrate this week.

If you’re one of our email subscribers, you’ve already gotten a message with an exclusive offer in honor of #NTDAW. Not an email member? Subscribe here.

To learn more about the trucking industry’s impact nationwide, visit www.ntdaw.org

And please stop by our campus if you’re in the area, on Friday, September 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for an open house and cookout. We’d love to show you around our newly expanded campus, including our on-site manufacturing capabilities, and we’d be very pleased to meet you in-person!

Thank you, truck drivers, we appreciate you!

Brake Safety Day is Sept. 7

Heads up: Brake Safety Day is Thursday, Sept. 7.

The enforcement and compliance campaign is a companion to International Roadcheck, the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle inspection effort in North America, which took place in June.

Brake Safety Day again targets large trucks and buses. Law enforcement agencies across the United States, Mexico and Canada will primarily conduct a Standard Level 1 Inspection, a 37-step procedure that examines both the vehicle’s mechanical fitness and driver operating requirements.

Officer inspects truck
Ryan Glade, a Motor Vehicle Enforcement officer with the Iowa Department of Transportation, inspects a truck during International Roadcheck at a state-run weigh station near Brandon, Iowa, in June.

Next week’s event will particularly focus on brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake-system components. Anti-lock braking system malfunction indicator lamps are also checked, and inspectors will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable.

In addition, in the 10 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured.

Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which sponsors the event, commercial motor vehicle brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but must be properly installed, routinely inspected and carefully maintained for optimal performance throughout a vehicle’s life. Failure to do so can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, a serious safety risk.

Out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road, the CVSA says. The past two years alone, brake-related violations have comprised the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations cited during International Roadcheck — 45.7 percent in 2016, and 26.9 percent in 2017.

Brake Safety Day, part of the CVSA’s Operation Airbrake program, is sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The event is a follow-up to an unannounced Brake Safety Day on May 3, and replaces the seven-day Brake Safety Week campaign from previous years.

Since the program’s inception in 1998, more than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected.

Free Shipping is Here!

Everybody loves free shipping, right?

US Cargo Control Free Shipping
One of the many things we are grateful for here at US Cargo Control is our fiercely loyal customers. We hear time and again that once somebody tries our products, they are very happy and will come back for more.

Those words are music to our ears.

However, we have also frequently heard that customers are not happy with our shipping fees. That’s not OK with us.

We want to get you what you want, when you need it, and you do not want high shipping fees.

So, we’ve done something about it.

We now offer free standard ground shipping on qualifying orders of $199 and over.

We believe our new free shipping structure will allow more people to enjoy our products, and will also strengthen our relationship with current customers, whom we value so greatly.

We hope you’re as excited about this news as we are.

We also invite you to join our mailing list so you can be the first to hear about our exciting future announcements and offers.

How to Care for Ratchet Straps

Ratchet Straps and Tie Downs
US Cargo Control Ratchet Strap

Ratchet straps are one of the best ways to tie down and secure loads during transport. They’re relatively easy to use and care for, and US Cargo Control can customize them to your specific needs. Knowing how to care for your ratchet straps properly can extend their life and be more economical for you.

Our strong, yet lightweight, polyester straps are ideal for a variety of applications. The fabrication allows for very little stretch, and resists abrasions, as well as damage from UV rays and most common chemicals.

Their minimal absorption of water prevents shrinkage, mold, mildew, and rotting, even after being exposed to the elements over time. These qualities also make them a long-lasting and economical choice, especially for outdoor uses.

Ratchet Strap Maintenance and Storage

When straps are not in use, there are recommended ways to maintain and store them.

First, before storing them for any length of time, it’s important to make sure the webbing is clean and dry. To wash your straps after usage, before storage, simply hose them down with water and let them dry before storing.

If you find that your straps are not coming clean with this method, you can mix a mild detergent with warm water and scrub with a quality scrub brush to loosen any dirt and debris. Avoid bleach-based cleansers or any with acid additives.

Also, keep in mind that although it’s tempting to toss straps in a pile after usage, taking the time to wind up a strap is also an ideal time to inspect the webbing for rips, tears and abrasions. If you work with a lot of tie down straps, especially the 2”, 3″ and 4″ widths, check out our Strap Winder.

You preferably want to store ratcheting straps in a dry place away from sunlight. The actual steel ratcheting mechanisms build up corrosion over time if you leave them exposed to moisture–then they just become more difficult to use.

Items to Help Store Your Ratchet Straps

Bungee balls. These handy ties come in a bulk package of 100 so you’ll have plenty to wrap up your tie down straps, and some left over for other uses: securing canopies, keeping box lids closed, anchoring yard ornaments, bundling tent poles, etc.

Bungee cords. Like bungee balls, the uses are endless with bungee. Our bungee cord selection comes in a wide range of sizes, sure to fit around even your largest 4″ winch straps or ratchet straps.

Cinch strap. Velcro cinch straps are great for securing loose webbing. If you have a trailer with E-track installed, you can loop the strap through an E-track fitting with O-ring to keep straps up and off the floor.

If you have any questions about all things ratchet straps, give us a call at 866-444-9990.

Guide to Using Ratchet Straps

If you’ve been relying on bungee cords and rope to avoid confusing yourself with how to work a ratchet strap, we’re here to help. Follow these simplified, step-by-step ratchet strap instructions:


Step 1

Keeping the ratchet handle positioned upward, loop the strap around the cargo you’re securing, or hook the end(s) of the strap to an anchor point, depending on your application.

 

 

 

 

Step 2

How to start a ratchet strap: Grip the ratchet handle and release it by pulling upward on the spring-loaded center lever.

 

 

 

Step 3

Feed the loose end of the webbing from the bottom of the ratchet and through the open mandrel/axle slot, up over the top of the axle and back out the same way it entered. NOTE: If needed, crank the ratchet handle until the axle slot points outward and easier aligns with the webbing being inserted. Then, holding the ratchet handle firmly, pull the loose end of the strap away from the ratchet to eliminate slack.

Step 4

Ratcheting straps: Raise and lower the ratchet handle, which
allows the strap to wind around the axle and tighten against your load. Continue cranking until you reach your desired tension. When finished, pull upward on the center spring lever and fold the ratchet handle back and flat against the assembly to lock in place.

Step 5

How to loosen ratchet straps: Pull up on the center plunger, open the handle as wide as possible, and remove the webbing.

Visit uscargocontrol.com for a wide selection of ratchet straps and end fittings, along with corner protectors, fabric sleeves, and other accessories to prolong the life of your tie downs.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on strap maintenance.

A First Look at International Roadcheck Results

The 30th annual International Roadcheck is a wrap!

For three days earlier this month, certified officials in jurisdictions throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada conducted inspections of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers, placing a special emphasis on cargo securement.

The initiative, created by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute during the 72-hour period.

While CVSA is still compiling statistics for North America, the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement reported the following:

  • Commercial Vehicles Inspected                                                    1,085
  • Violations Found                                                                              3,769
  • Vehicles Out of Service                                                                   350
  • Drivers Out of Service                                                                     107
  • CVSA Decals Issued to Vehicles that Passed Inspection            580
Ryan Glade, a Motor Vehicle Enforcement officer with the Iowa Department of Transportation, performs an inspection during the International Roadcheck event at a state-run weigh station near Brandon, Iowa, on June 7, 2017.

In 2016, CVSA’s roadside campaign totaled 62,796 inspections. Of those, 42,236 were a North American Standard Level 1 Inspection, a 37-step procedure that examines both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Level 1 inspections resulted in 21.5 percent of vehicles and 3.4 percent of drivers being placed out of service because of critical item violations. Of vehicles placed out of service, brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 45.7 percent of out-of-service vehicle violations. Top driver out-of-service violations were for hours of service and false logs representing 46.8 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively, of all out-of-service driver violations found.

Other inspections conducted are Level II walk-around driver/vehicle, Level III driver/credential, and Level V vehicle-only.

According to CVSA, top load securement violations — a particular focus this year — typically include:

  1. Failure to prevent shifting/loss of load.
  2. Failure to secure truck equipment (tarps, dunnage, doors, tailgates, spare tires, etc.).
  3. Damaged tie-downs (unacceptable wear on chain or cuts and tears on web straps).

    Ryan Glade performs an inspection during International Roadcheck near Brandon, Iowa, on June 7, 2017.
  4. Insufficient tie-downs.
  5. Loose tie-downs.

International Roadcheck is sponsored by CVSA, North America’s leading commercial motor vehicle safety enforcement organization, with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Other CVSA events include Brake Safety Day on Sept. 7 and Operation Safe Driver Week in October.

 

NEW ARRIVALS: Coil, Machinery, 3-Piece & Lightweight Tarps

We recently expanded our line of flatbed trailer tarps, launching coilmachinery, and three-piece lumber styles. Our inventory also now includes lightweight versions of our lumber and steel tarps, as well as a wider selection of sizes.

Coil tarps, or coil bags, are commonly used to keep steel or aluminum coils tight and dry. The upper half is rounded at the front and rear to better fit cylinder-shaped loads, eliminating the need to fold and strap down tons of excess material before hauling. This allows for easier on/off and faster securement.

In addition, each corner of the bottom portion is split to form four flaps that let transport chain slide through, so the tarp slips on quickly whether the coil is mounted in either shotgun (coil has the potential to roll off the side of the trailer) or suicide (coil can roll onto the truck) position.

Sturdy grommets around the hems and two rows of D-rings spanning the perimeter provide plenty of tie-down points for S-hooks, rubber tarp straps, or rubber rope.

Both sizes we offer — 6’ x 6’ x 6’ and 7’ x 7’ x 7’ — are made of 18 oz. vinyl-coated polyester to handle extreme outdoor conditions and heavy stress.

Machinery tarps are essentially larger versions of steel tarps to fully wrap large, expensive, and often irregularly sized manufacturing or machinery equipment. They are great, too, for encasing wood or steel products such as plywood, cables, rods, or sheets.

These are available in 24’ x 24’ or 30’ x 30’ with grommets the entire way around the tarp and multiple rows of D-rings — the number depends on size. The 18 oz. polyester has a PVC exterior coating to ensure the tarp stays waterproof and resistant to dirt, oil, salt, chemicals, and ultraviolet rays. Plus, the coated fabric gives the material added strength and durability.

Three-piece lumber tarps split the weight over three separate pieces, making them easier to handle when covering a full load on a standard flatbed trailer. These systems connect a rectangular steel tarp in the center to a lumber tarp on each end. Sections can be used individually or combined to accommodate various load sizes.

Constructed in 18 oz. or lighter-weight 14 oz. fabric, these tarps have lots of D-rings and grommets for attaching straps and rope. Each D-ring comes with an abrasion-resistant pad underneath. Like our other styles, the PVC-coated polyester acts as a tough barrier from the elements and road debris.

Lightweight lumber and steel tarps feature 14 oz. vinyl-coated polyester. Lumber sizes include: 20′ x 20′, 20′ x 27′, 24′ x 20′, and 24′ x 27′. Lightweight steel tarps come in 16′ x 27′, 20′ x 16′, and 24′ x 18′.

We also added two new sizes of heavyweight lumber and steel tarps: 20′ x 18′ and 24′ x 18′.

Don’t forget about our other heavy-duty and 14 oz./18 oz. combo options for lumber and steel hauling, along with a smoke/nose shield and designs for roll/dump trucks. Consider corner protectors, tarp repair kits, and other accessories to prolong the life of your tarp.

For one-stop shopping, we’ve assembled flatbed starter kits with tarps, tie downs, and essentials for hauling lumber, steel, or both. Be sure to check out our entire selection of Flatbed Trailer Equipment.

Need a different tarp size, color, or style? Custom options are available! Call 866-444-9990 to discuss with a member of our sales team.

Prepare for Targeted Inspections in June

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement recently stopped a driver who didn’t realize his load had come unbundled, butting up against the trailer’s wooden removable side boards. This year’s International Roadcheck will focus on cargo securement safety.

Fleet companies and truck drivers have just a couple of weeks left to prepare for the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle inspection effort in North America.

The 30th annual International Roadcheck is June 6-8. Certified inspectors in jurisdictions across the United States, Mexico and Canada will focus on a Standard Level 1 Inspection, the most thorough roadside inspection that examines both the vehicle as well as driver operating requirements.

Each inspection can take up to an hour or more. Vehicles found in compliance will receive a special decal that generally spares them from re-inspection during the month of issuance, plus two months.  

This year’s event is placing an emphasis on cargo securement. Inspectors are trained to look for the proper loading and securement of cargo on commercial vehicles. They also check that equipment is functioning and tied down safely and correctly. Inspectors take load securement regulation seriously. Loads that are improperly secured can cause road damage, injury and death.

Past spotlighted categories include tire safety (2016), cargo securement (2015) and hazardous materials/dangerous goods (2014).

An improperly secured I-beam flies off of a truckload of scrap metal and into the dash of an unsuspecting motorist. The truck driver was in possession of cargo netting, but failed to use it.

Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer Loren Waterman has seen a lot in his 22 years with the Iowa Department of Transportation. Examples of violations he’s found while on patrol are scattered throughout this post. Many accidents, fines and citations are preventable, he says.

“Take the initiative to go through everything,” Waterman said. “It takes you 5 minutes to update your logbook. Make sure your load is properly secured. When in doubt, scale it out.”

With truck stops sprinkled along most major highways and interstates, drivers typically have access to additional tie downs or weigh scales, if needed, prior to getting pulled over for an inspection.

Waterman said tighter regulations accompanied with initiatives like International Roadcheck are paying off.

“You don’t see those really bad trucks out there anymore,” he said. “The safety of the road depends on how all these companies are keeping their equipment up.”

A roadside inspection guide published by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance ahead of the International Roadcheck three-day event, happening June 6-8, 2017.

International Roadcheck times and locations will vary by state. In Iowa, most weigh station facilities will be staffed daily with four to five inspectors, along with someone on patrol, Waterman said.

International Roadcheck, created by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, is expected to average nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected every minute during the 72-hour period. Participants include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Since the program’s inception in 1988, more than 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted.