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.

 

 

What are Frost Laws?

Ground_frost_damagesWith the spring thaw comes talk of “Frost Laws” in our Northern states. But exactly what is the Frost Law?

Also known simply as “Seasonal Weight Restrictions,” Frost Laws are restrictions on speed and/or weight limits on roads that are sensitive to weakening during a spring thaw. States and localities can impose jurisdiction as needed to protect those roads while the ground is thawing in the spring. Areas must be signed and posted by the governing agency.

The temporarily-reduced speeds and axle weight limits generally start on March 1st and remain through Mid-June in most cases. However, this can also vary by year as it is also dependent on what the temperatures were during the winter months.

Only 16 US states have Spring load restrictions in place. Laws are more prevalent in Canada, with nearly all provinces and territories having laws on the books.Oversize_Bridge_Beam_-_LONG

Because these spring load restrictions will vary widely by state, and even within a state, it’s best to check each state’s laws. We’ve included the link to each state’s information below:

Beautiful Big Rigs & Antique Trucks Descend on Walcott for Jamboree

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The 36th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree runs Thurs. July 9, 2015 -Sat. July 11, 2015 at the World’s Largest Truck Stop off of Interstate 80 in Walcott, Iowa.

There’s a big trucker party happening in eastern Iowa.

The 36th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree kicked off Thursday morning and runs through Saturday. The event is happening at The World’s Largest Truck Stop located off of Interest 80 in Walcott, Iowa. Organizers at the truck stop are expecting upwards of 45,000 people over three days.

“We are having a party about everything trucking,” Iowa 80 Truck Stop Marketing Manager Heather DeBaillie said. “Whether you are a driver looking for a new job, or if you want to see some of the new things in the industry … we’ve got it all here.”

The big bash features truck-themed events including the Super Truck Beauty Contest, Antique Truck Display and more than 175 exhibits.

beauty contest
The Super Truck Beauty Contest opened the Walcott Truckers Jamboree on Thurs., July 9, 2015.

Super Truck Beauty Contest

The crowds were bustling Thursday morning as the show got underway, starting with the Super Truck Beauty Contest. People came from all over to show off their beautiful big rigs.Many of the trucks were recently redone from the inside-out and sported a custom paint jobs and flawless interiors.

Rod Jaeger has been coming to the Walcott Truckers Jamboree for 15 years. This year, he showed off a truck he rehabbed by hand.

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The inside of Rod Jaeger’s refurbished 1976 Peterbilt at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, Thurs., July 9, 2015.

“It’s a 1976 and I completely redid it. I went through the whole thing,” Jaeger explained. “Everything is pretty much new.”

Jaeger is in the trucking business and hauls large farm machinery and construction equipment for a living, but revamps rigs on the side. He loves to show off his work once the truck is complete.

“It’s neat to see people’s reactions to what you did,” he said.

Participants in the contest range from hobbyists to businessmen.

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Members of DB Kustom Trucks pose next to a rig they revitalized, showing it off during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree on July 9, 2015.

Dave and Dan Brown revitalize old trucks for a living. The twin brothers started their business DB Kustom Trucks about a year ago. The pair showed two finished trucks during this year’s Super Truck Beauty Contest.

The brothers take old trucks and completely gut them, installing new parts and mechanics, and then customize the paint and interior to the driver’s specifications. The pair revamp about 60 trucks per year, and this year it was a mad-dash to get one truck ready to go.

“Before the show we had nothing in the interior, like the day of,” Dave Brown said. “So, it was scrambling the last hour, getting up early in the morning and putting everything together.”

Antique Truck Display

For some attendees the Walcott Jamboree is all about history built on tradition.

Ohio resident Dave Schroyer makes the drive every year to experience and contribute to the Jamboree’s Antique Truck Display.

“It [antique truck collecting] is a disease,” Schroyer laughed. “It’s an expensive disease.”

Members of the Schroyer family have been coming to the annual jamboree since it started in 1979. The family is in the trucking business – mostly hauling hazardous materials, but is heavily involved with antique truck collecting on the side. Schroyer’s favorite part of the long weekend is seeing the vintage trucks.

“The old stuff is more our cup of tea,” he explained.

old mac
Larry Steve, of Dubuque, Iowa, stands next to his 1927 Mack A13 during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree Antique Truck Display on Thurs., July 9, 2015.

The same can be said for Iowa resident Larry Steve.

Sporting a button up, denim and cowboy hat, Steve stood proudly next to his bright blue, refurbished 1927 Mack truck. It was a massive undertaking to get the old truck to the beautiful place it is today.

“When we got it, it was a dump truck. Really, rough,” Steve explained. “The motor was stuck. The transmission bearings were all gone. It took my Dad and me five years to put it back together.”

old mac 2Steve and his father were in the towing business together, so they also installed a wrecker on the back of the truck.

Steve has attended the jamboree annually for more than two decades and proudly keeps coming back.

“I get to visit with some of my buddies. It’s just a good time. People are great here,” he said.

Jim Peterson made the trip from Illinois to show off his 1947 Ford pickup truck. He bought an old farm truck that has been in his community about 30 years ago. It’s been a work in progress restoring it.

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A 1947 Ford Pickup truck belonging to Jim Peterson of Maple Park, IL.

“I remember when I was a little kid a neighboring farmer had it, and before him another farmer in our area had it,” Peterson said. “It came up at auction and I bought it.”

Peterson’s father-in-law and brother-in-law did most of the body restoration. His in-laws have been coming to the Jamboree since its inception. Peterson started tagging along a few years ago as he approached retirement as a driver himself. He comes back each year to chat with the other truckers.

“Oh, just talking. Old stories, truck stories,” he laughed.

Trucker Appreciation

The Walcott Jamboree is held each year as a thank you to drivers and to celebrate the trucking industry as a whole. What started 36 years ago as a small party with a few hay bales and a cookout has turned into a huge bash featuring an Iowa pork chop cookout, two firework displays and two nights of live country music.

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A photo of a group of trucks entered in the Super Truck Beauty Contest at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree on Thurs., July 9, 2015.

“Our goal for this is twofold: it’s to appreciate customers and truck drivers but also to expose the general public who maybe don’t know much about the trucking industry,” Marketing Manager Heather DeBaillie said. “It gives them a chance to come out, look at trucks up close and hopefully gain a better appreciation for what everybody does.”

On Thursday night, the truck stop featured Natalie Stovall & The Drive live on stage. Last year, the group was named as a must see act by Rolling Stone Country.

Friday night, The Josh Abbott Band will perform live as part of their ‘Where’s The Party Tour.’ Fireworks will light up the sky at dusk.

Admission is free and parking is free throughout the entire event.

“We just encourage everyone to come on out and have a good time,” DeBaillie said.

The 36th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree will close at 5 p.m., Saturday July 11th.

Federal Law Relaxes HOS 34-hour Reset Rules

It’s been about two month since President Obama signed a bill that suspended portions of the federal Hours of Service, or HOS, requirements.

Truckers still can’t drive more than 60/70 hours in a 7/8 consecutive day period. Those who reach that 70 hour maximum must also “reset” or break for 34 consecutive hours before picking back up again.  The changeup – drivers are no longer required to be off-duty twice from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and they can also reset as many times as necessary per week, or 168 hours.

When we say suspended we mean suspended enforcement.

Back in December, President Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015. It’s a law that funds the federal government through September 2015. The legislation specifically states the US DOT and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cannot use the money it receives to enforce those specific reset provisions. That also goes for state agencies using federal grant money from the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.

Let’s go back to that word suspend. It does not mean revoked. The rules could be reinstated following a required safety study that will examine the health and fatigue impacts of the reset provisions. Upon completion, that report will go to the US House and Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Still, the relaxed reset regulations are welcome by many in the trucking industry.

Ahead of the suspension, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) surveyed its members about HOS regulations. More than 4,000 members answered the 14-question survey and included specific, negative comments about reset rules.

“The 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. part has set me back a half day on my route several times and having to take 168 hours between restarts is absolutely ridiculous. The people coming up with these ideas have no clue what they are doing.”

“The result of the 34‐hour restart requiring 2 periods from 1am‐5am insures that I am ALWAYS driving in the heaviest rush hour traffic on Monday mornings.  Definitely not safer, in my opinion.”

Nearly half of the truckers surveyed said if they could change one, Hours of Service regulation it would be the 34-hour reset.

Have you been happy with the reset rule suspensions? Would you change any other HOS rules? Tell us by commenting on our Facebook Page or Tweet us @USCargoControl.

image of truck driver safety handbook

Tire Chain Laws by State

snowsunrisehighwayWhen winter weather strikes, it’s not only important to have sturdy tire chains ready to go in your vehicle- in some states, it’s the law. Tire chains help keep your rig on the road in the ice and snow, making travel safer for you, your load and the drivers around you.

There is a wide variety of tire chains available for many different sizes of tires and specific travel needs. That means there is also a range of restrictions for what chains can or must be used from state to state. Some states ask that you simply carry tire chains in your vehicle, while other states require them to be on your tires when you pass through the state at certain times of the year. Some states require manually applied tire chains, while other states allow you to use automatic chains.

States with Tire Chain Laws or Restrictions

Click a state in the list below for tire chain laws, restrictions and other important tire chain information:

States with No Tire Chain Laws

Some states have no tire chain laws at all. These include:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont

If you’re concerned about whether you have sufficient chains for your vehicle’s tires, it’s a good idea to contact that states Department of Transportation before you head out with your load.

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Premium Pewag Dual Tire Chain w/ Square Links for 24.5″ Wheels

Need to buy tire chains? We offer two styles of snow chains from Pewag, a leader in chain manufacturing:

-Glacier chains offer durable traction with a 6mm twist link that penetrates icy and snowy conditions. They’re great to have on hand for emergency use.

-Premium chains in a 7mm square link design wear more than four times longer than traditional  6/0 twist link tire chains and also provide about 32% more traction. These are the best tire chains for regular use.

 Shop our entire selection  here: Tire Chains
or give our sales team a call at 866-444-9990. 

Wide Load and Oversize Load Banner Requirements by State

 

coverA load is considered oversized if it exceeds the standard legal size or weight limits for a road or highway. There are also “load per axle” limits for the weight of a load. Examples of wide or oversized loads include pre-fabricated homes, construction machinery, industrial equipment, and wind turbine propellers.button

Using oversize load banner signs, safety flags and wide load banners is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirement for any commercial motor vehicle handling an oversized or wide load. Size and weight parameters vary between states, so it is important to research what the rules are for states through which you will be transporting oversized or wide loads.

Vehicles transporting wide or oversized loads often require special permits, which usually mean extra fees to travel legally on certain roads and highways. These permits often specify dates and times that travel with oversized or wide loads is allowed, along with certain routes that the vehicles are allowed to take.

Click a state in the list below for more information about wide load and oversize load banner requirements, safety guidelines, and permit information:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Working Load Limits of Chain

Grade 70 transport chain from US Cargo ControlWhether you transport machinery, use tow chains, or are in the logging industry, it’s important to know the working load limits of chain you are using. Chains have a working load limit- or WLL- of approximately one third of their break strengths (the amount of force the chains can withstand before they break).

How to determine a chain’s working load limit

The WLL of a chain is determined by both the grade and the diameter. Chain is embossed with both the grade and size so you can determine its WLL using this chart.

new chart

 

 

Types of chain

Grade 30 Chain

Grade 30 is a multipurpose, economical chain. Also known as Grade 30 Proof Coil Chain, it’s used in a variety of industries and jobs, including light construction, barrier chains, and in the marine industry. It is not safe for overhead lifting. Grade 30 chain is embossed using a 3, 30, or 300.

Grade 43 Chain

Also called Grade 43 High Test Chain  or Grade 43 Tow Chain, this is common in the towing and logging industries. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 43 chain is embossed using a 43 or a G4.shutterstock_2337463

Grade 70 Chain

Grade 70 Transport Chain is also called Grade 70 Truckers Chain as it’s common in securing loads for over-the-road hauling. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 70 chain is embossed using a 7, 70, or 700.

Grade 80 Chain

Grade 80 Alloy Chain is heat-treated making it safe and rated for overhead lifting. It’s also commonly used as a heavy duty tow chain. Grade 80 chain is embossed using an 8, 80, or 800.

Grade 100 Chain

Considered premium quality chain, it offers about a 25% higher work load limit over Grade 80 chain. It is safe for overhead lifting. Grade 100 chains are embossed with a 10 or 100.

Grade 120 Chain

A newer product in the market, Grade 120 chain is up to 50% stronger than Grade 80 chain and 20% stronger than Grade 100 chain. It’s also more resistant to abrasion than both Grade 80 and Grade 100 chains. It’s safe  for overhead lifts.

LEARN MORE: 

Learn more about the differences between grades 70, 80 and 100 here: What are the Differences Between Grade 70 Chain, Grade 80 Chain, and Grade 100 Chain?

SHOP NOW: 

Aggregate Working Load Limits

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith such a wide range of strength and length in commercial tie downs, it’s important to determine the aggregate working load limit of the equipment you choose before you attempt to haul your cargo.

What does aggregate working load limit mean?

Working load limits determine how much weight or force tiedowns and other securing devices can secure without breaking. The aggregate working load limit is the sum of the working load limits for each device you use to secure your load. To meet safety requirements, the aggregate working load limit of the devices you use must be at least 50% of the total weight of all the pieces of cargo you are hauling.

shutterstock_1131225How do you determine aggregate working load limits?

You can figure out the aggregate working load limit of your securing devices by adding together:

  • 50% of the working load limit of each tiedown that is attached to an anchor point on your vehicle, and
  • 50% of the working load limit of each tiedown that is attached to your vehicle and goes over, around or through your cargo.

The sum equals your aggregate working load limit. It’s important to properly figure your aggregate working load limit and use the necessary amount of tiedowns for every load you haul. If you don’t, you risk being cited by the DOT or losing your cargo on the road, which could lead to serious injury to you or to another motorist.

What is a USDOT Number?

shutterstock_13801870A USDOT number is an identifier that is unique to your company. It allows quick access to your company’s safety information. This information is gathered during accident investigations, inspections, audits and compliance reviews.

Commercial vehicles used by your company to transport passengers or haul cargo in interstate commerce, must have the company’s USDOT number displayed on every commercial company vehicle. Companies that transport hazardous materials within the state in amounts that require safety permits must also display the company’s USDOT number on the vehicles used for transport.

Do I Need a USDOT Number?

These guidelines will help you determine if your company needs a USDOT number. You need a USDOT number if your vehicle is involved in interstate commerce (trade or transportation in the United States) and also meets one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Your vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. The measurement includes gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight, whichever is greatest.
  • Your vehicle is designed to carry 8 passengers for payment (this number includes the driver).
  • Your vehicle is used to carry more than 15 passengers (including the driver), but is not used to carry passengers for payment.
  • Your vehicle is used to transport materials deemed by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous, and in a quantity that requires a safety permit.shutterstock_176701853

Where your vehicle transports goods or passengers is also an indicator of whether you need a USDOT number.  You need a number if your vehicle is used for trade or transport in one or more of these ways:

  • Between states (this includes places outside of the United States)
  • Between two places in one state through another state, or through a place outside of the United States
  • Between two places in one state as part of traffic, transportation or trade that begins or ends in a place outside the state or the United States.

Certain states require a USDOT number for all commercial vehicles aside from the specifications listed above. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Remember, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to obtain a USDOT number and comply with all federal regulations. No matter how many commercial vehicles are in your company’s fleet, you only need one USDOT number. The number is required to be displayed on every commercial vehicle your company operates in accordance with the specifications above.

For more information on what forms are needed to obtain a USDOT number, visit the What Do I Need to File? page on the FMCSA website.

New Hazmat Regulation: Drive Smart and Safe

CaptureWhenever a new hazmat rule is rolled out there’s no question that you want to make sure you’re fully up to date and in compliance.  “I didn’t know about the new rule,” isn’t an excuse that’s going to buy you a lot of leeway.  So when a new hazmat regulation came out starting on October 25, plenty of people took notice.  The language reads:

“Drivers hauling hazmat may no longer cross a highway-rail grade crossing unless there is sufficient space to drive completely through without stopping.

This rule was made in collaboration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The rule change had been considered since 2011, but it was only recently that this regulation was put into effect for haulers of various toxins, hazardous materials, and other similar agents.

A need for signage

While both the National Tank Truck Carriers and American Trucking Associations prefer that appropriate signs should be added to the 21,000+ railroad crossings across the country where it’s not possible for a driver to pass through completely without stopping, the PHMSA and the FMCSA have stated that they do not have the authority for such a mandate.

The concerns have been heard

There’s been some grumbling that it’s not always easy to know ahead of time when a route is appropriate or not and that certain routes might not have appropriate detour routes especially in extremely industrial or port areas.  The good news is that officials recognize that these issues can happen and they even suggest that enforcement of the rules shouldn’t be iron clad 100% of the time, but should be enforced at discretion based on the circumstances.

Photo source: iTunes.com
Photo source: iTunes.apple.com

Technology can help

Another effort to help hazmat drivers obey the new rule comes in the form of a free mobile app that can be used by any iPhone or iPad.  The Federal Railroad Administration created the Rail Crossing Locator app to help provide hazmat-friendly routes to drivers, as well as a clear understanding of the grade crossings that were known. The app can locate crossings by Crossing ID, address, or geo-location. Crossings can also be identified by special characteristics. Users can also check accident history for each crossing.