Rubber Wheel Chocks vs. Urethane Wheel Chocks

Wheel chocks are a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles.

What they are, how they’re different, and where to buy the best ones.

Rubber and urethane wheel chocks are both a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles – whether it’s trucks, trailers, recreational vehicles, or any other vehicle that could potentially roll away on you.

using and choosing wheel chocks

In short, the main purpose of wheel chocks is to keep vehicles from rolling away.

We have many different wheel chock styles to choose from in order to match your needs and your vehicle’s needs. Determining whether you need rubber or urethane wheel chocks mainly depends on the environment that the chocks will be used in.

Styles of Rubber Wheel Chocks

Rubber wheel chocks are commonly used in the commercial transportation industry and while wheel chocks are not technically required for commercial motor vehicles, they’re always good to have on hand when loading, unloading, or when you’re parked on any type of incline or decline.

Most people only use rubber wheel chocks in enclosed areas like warehouses or garages since they’re not very resistant to outdoor elements.

Wedge-Style Wide Rubber Wheel Chocks

Heavy-duty rubber and a grooved design come together to create a secure grip against tires. Metal handles make these chocks easy to carry or secure when not in use.

Wedge-Style Solid Rubber Wheel Chocks

A stronger, more solid rubber and full grip bottom provide a safe and secure hold on your vehicle’s tires. Built-in slots on the back make them easy to carry or secure with a chain or strap.

Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

double-sided-pyramid-style-wheel-chocks
Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

These popular pyramid-style wheel chocks come in two sizes to match your tire size: 9-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 7-1/4″ and a slightly larger 10″ x 6″ x8″. This style can be used on either side and come with a built-in eye bolt for secure storage.

Styles of Urethane Wheel Chocks

If you’re going to be using your chocks mainly outdoors, urethane wheel chocks are able to better resist weather and abrasions. Urethane wheel chocks are also more resistant to oils, fuels, and lubricants.

Our urethane wheel chocks are orange due to customer demand. The bright color makes it harder to misplace or forget them. To learn more about the benefits of the orange color see our post: Why Should I Buy Bright Wheel Chocks?

Orange Wedge-Style Wheel Chocks

These long and bright wheel chocks have a curved surface that contours to fit tires and features a raised diamond plate pattern. Instead of a eye bolt, it has a mold-in hole for chain or strap securement.

Orange Double-Sided Wheel Chocks

Similar to the rubber double-sided chocks, these urethane chocks are more lightweight and resistant to fuels and solvents. They provide excellent stability to vehicles and can be used on either side.

Choosing the Right Wheel Chocks

Both double-sided and wedge-style wheel chocks serve the same purpose and choosing which one to use is mostly a personal choice. Double-sided chocks are the most versatile as they can be used on either side, while wedge wheel chocks are able to cradle tires more.

The most important aspect in choosing the right wheel chocks is getting a size that’s right for your tires.

For standard truck and trailer size wheels, you should choose a wheel chock with a height that’s about 1/4 the height of the tire. For example, a 22.5″ tire requires a wheel chock that’s about 6″ high. Along with the tire height, you also need to choose a chock that is wider than your tire’s diameter to ensure a secure hold.

Using Wheel Chocks on Motorcycles

Although some people use the above styles of wheel chocks as a makeshift wheel chock when hauling motorcycles on a truck bed or trailer, they’re really not designed for motorcycles.

Instead, get a wheel chock that’s specifically designed for motorcycles. This TrakStar motorcycle chock comes with durable aluminum L-track for simple installation and a strong hold time after time.

To see a video on how to properly install this popular motorcycle wheel chock, see our post on how to get your trailer motorcycle ready.

CVSA Roadcheck Inspection Results for 2018

Back in June, we wrote about the 3-day International Roadcheck that was about to affect thousands of truck drivers across North America. Organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the focus in 2018 was on Hour-of-Service Compliance.

Now, thousands of roadside inspections later, the CVSA has released the results of their annual driver and vehicle inspections.

 

How many trucks and drivers were affected?

At a high-level view, 67,603 roadside inspections were conducted on large trucks and buses. That number is up a bit from last year’s 62,013 total inspections. This year’s inspections resulted in 11,910 vehicles being placed out-of-service and 2,666 drivers found to have conditions that placed them out-of-service. Another 211 were placed out of service due to hazardous materials/dangerous goods (HM/DG).

This means that out of all the North American Standard Level I Inspections (45,501), a whopping 21.6 percent resulted in a commercial vehicle being placed out of service.

Keep in mind that 60,321 of the total inspections were conducted in the United States, while just 7,282 were done in Canada.

 

CVSA roadcheck 2018 official inspects truck for violations
In 2018, there were 5,590 more inspections compared to 2017.

 

What does being placed out-of-service mean?

Being placed out-of-service does not mean the driver or vehicle is a lost cause. A vehicle that is placed out of service must have the mechanical issue corrected before its allowed to be on the road again, and a driver who is in violation has to correct their infraction before getting back behind the wheel.

Let’s look at exactly what caused these drivers and vehicles to be, at least temporarily, put out of commission.

 

Top 3 reasons for vehicles being placed out-of-service

Here are the top violations of the 2018 International Roadcheck according to the CVSA.

  1. Brake Systems – 4,545    (28.4 percent)
  2. Tires & Wheels – 3,060    (19.1 percent)
  3. Brake Adjustment – 2,612    (16.3 percent)

 

Top 3 reasons for drivers being placed out-of-service

  1. Hours of Service – 1,328    (43.7 percent)
  2. Wrong Class License – 649    (21.4 percent)
  3. False Record of Duty Status – 309    (10.2 percent)

 

 

Other reasons for being placed out-of-service

hours of service compliance top violation for 2018 roadcheckBelieve it or not, there were 729 safety belt violations and about 72 drivers were in violation of drug/alcohol policies. Of the 211 placed out-of-service for hazardous materials or dangerous goods, 25.6 percent was due to loading or securement.

And while it’s obvious that many drivers were tripped up by this year’s focus on hours of service regulations, last year’s spotlight on proper cargo securement showed up as a problem area again this year. About 1,548 vehicles, or 13 percent of total out-of-service vehicles, were found to have insufficient cargo securement.

 

A good reminder to stock up on quality cargo securement equipment from US Cargo Control.  Our 4″ ratchet straps all meet or exceed industry standards, and our heavy-duty Blackline straps hold the strongest break strength in the industry.

 

best straps for heavy cargo securement compliance
Found only at USCC, Blackline straps are some of the strongest straps ever made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share your roadcheck story

Have you experienced a Roadcheck Inspection? How did it go? Share your best (or worst) stories in the comments below.

 

Why Hours of Service Rules Could Change for Livestock Haulers

A Senate proposed bill called “The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act” has the potential to significantly change Hours of Service (HOS) rules and ELD enforcement for thousands of drivers.

The bill aims to modify HOS requirements for transporters of livestock and insects. Now that ELD enforcement has started, industry stakeholders are more divided than ever on whether livestock truck drivers should have to comply to the same HOS limitation that other drivers do.

Read on to gain a full understanding of the situation and come to your own conclusion on this debate.

 

What the Livestock Exemption Bill Says

The bill only applies to drivers transporting livestock (as defined in section 602 of the Agricultural Act of 1949) or insects. And the proposed hours of service exemption would only be applicable to drivers who travel no more than 300-air miles from their pick-up point.  Here are the details of the proposed bill.

Livestock drivers would be exempt from hours of service requirements in the following situations:

A) at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper or on any public property during which the driver is waiting to be dispatched.

B) loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle.

C) supervising or assisting in the loading or unloading of a commercial motor vehicle.

D) attending to a commercial motor vehicle while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded.

E) remaining in readiness to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and

F) giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded.

In addition, the proposed bill states:

1) the driver may take 1 or more rest periods during the trip, which shall not be included in the calculation of the driving time;

2) after completion of the trip, the driver shall be required to take a rest break for a period that is 5 hours less than the maximum driving time under paragraph (2);

3) if the driver is within 150 air-miles of the point of delivery, any additional driving to that point of delivery shall not be included in the calculation of the driving time; and

4) the 10-hour rest period under section 395.3(a)(1) of that title shall not apply.

 

The Argument for Support

Supporters of the bill say the current one-size-fits-all HOS rules do not make sense when it comes to transporting live animals. They say that forcing a driver to stop and wait 10 hours before driving again strands the animals in potentially dangerous conditions.

One supporter of the bill is The National Pork Producers Council. They argue that pigs and other livestock are vulnerable to health issues triggered by extreme temperatures.

livestock hauling exemption pigs

Steve Hilker, a Transportation Committee Chairman for the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), also voiced support for the livestock exemption bill. In a Progressive Farmer article, Hilker says the ELD mandate (which digitally records and reports HOS compliance) leaves cattle potentially stranded roadside on a truck. “The list of poor outcomes begins to grow exponentially almost immediately,” says Hilker. He also raises the concern that putting livestock haulers through this would only add pressure to an already “thinly populated driver pool.”

 

The Argument for Opposition

Those against the bill say making an exemption defeats the purpose of the hours-of-service rules: increased safety for people on our roadways.

And opposers say making an exemption for a federal regulation is a slippery slope. They worry that once there is an exemption for one portion of the industry, it will set a precedent and potentially open the door to more exemptions down the road.

One key opponent of the bill is the American Trucking Associations (ATA). In an interview with Transport Topics, Bill Sullivan, leader of advocacy for ATA, stated, “lives of livestock should not be a priority over the lives of people. Sullivan goes on to say, “This bill would allow truck drivers to stay behind the wheel for almost twice as long as they’re permitted under the current hours-of-service rules, it needlessly and recklessly jeopardizes the safety of people who travel our highways.”

 

hoursofservicecompliance

Current Status for Livestock Haulers

This bill was just introduced on May 23, 2018, so it is still in the first stage of the legislative process. It is typical for a bill like this to first be considered by a committee before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate. If both the House and Senate pass the bill, it must then be signed by the President to become law.

However, it doesn’t look promising for supporters of the bill.

An A.I.-powered data analysis firm called Skopos Labs predicts the bill has just a 4% chance of becoming law.

Currently, there is a temporary exemption for livestock and insect haulers until September 30, 2018. But, livestock truckers will have to start complying with current ELD and HOS rules if nothing is passed by that time.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

New Hours-of-Service Rules for truck drivers

If you’re a commercial truck driver, you’ve heard about the new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that revises the Hours-of-Service (HOS) safety requirements for truck drivers.

While the effective date of the HOS Final Rule was February 27, 2012, drivers and companies have until July 1st, 2013 to fully comply with selected provisions of regulations.

We’ve found this page on the FMCSA.dot.gov website to be an excellent resource.

With FMCSA regulations often changing, it’s important to have the most up-to-date information available. Be sure to check out our spiral-bound Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) handbook. It’s easy to tuck away in your cab or office for a quick reference. We also carry a variety of daily driver log books and vehicle inspection reports for easy logging and record keeping.

The new regulations are designed to address driver fatigue- what do you think of the changes? Click on the “Leave a reply” link below and let us know!