California BIT Inspection Program Explained. www.calbit.com
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
But sleepiness poses a lot of risks,
especially to transportation workers.
I’ve slept in a sleeper berth a time or two and it’s something that takes getting used to for most folks; even for long-haul irregular route TL drivers who live in their trucks three weeks or more out of a month.
There are external noises to deal with, the often-constant rattle and hum from diesel-fired auxiliary power units (APUs) or idling engines, and the effort to get physically comfortable on a mattress that’s mayhap not as comfy as the one back home.
Thus getting good, restorative sleep for truck drivers can sometimes be a struggle, and that’s before we inject medical issues such as sleep apnea in to the mix. But truckers should take heart from one aspect of their “sleep struggles,” if you can call them that – they aren’t unique to the freight-hauling business, not be a longshot.
According to a recent global survey conducted by Royal Philips called Better Sleep, Better Health. A Global Look at Why We're Still Falling Short on Sleep, which looked at what keeps people from getting their “optimal” night's rest.
The survey – conducted online in February by Harris Poll on behalf of Philips – reviewed the “sleep habits” of over 15,000 adults across 13 countries – the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Poland, France, India, China, Australia, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Japan – examining how they prioritize, address, and perceive a range of “sleep issues.”
Philips said several studies estimate that more than 100 million people worldwide suffer from sleep apnea, 80 % of whom remain undiagnosed, and that, globally, 30% of people experience difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep. Sleeping well is essential to good health, and yet only one-third of people who suffer from sleep disorders seek professional help, the company noted.
"Sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. On a day-to-day basis, how well and how long we slept the night before is the single most important variable dictating how we feel," said Dr. David White, chief medical for Philips. "Thus inadequate sleep can have an immediate impact on our wellbeing unlike exercise or diet. This survey shows that despite knowing sleep is important to overall health, people are still struggling to address it in the same way they would exercise or nutrition. The more we understand how sleep impacts everything we do, the better we can adjust our lifestyle and find solutions that help us get better sleep."
The findings from that research should be of interest to truckers:
Though the survey found that the majority of those polled (67%) view sleep’s impact on their overall health and well-being to be “significant,” only 29% felt “guilty” about not getting enough sleep, in comparison to the guilt over not exercising regularly (49%) and eating healthier foods (42%)
About six in 10 global adults (61%) have some kind of medical issue that impacts their sleep, with a quarter of adults reporting insomnia (26%) and one in five experiencing snoring (21%). Worrying has kept over half of global adults up at night in the past 3 months (58%), followed by technology distractions (26%).
After a bad night’s sleep, those polled said they “look tired” (46%), are “moody/irritable” (41%), aren’t as “motivated” (39%), or they have trouble concentrating (39%).
Three-quarters of those polled (77%) have tried to improve their sleep in some way. Collectively, many have turned to soothing music (36%) or instituted a set bedtime/wake-up schedule (32%).
Throughout the global results, one outlier presented itself in adults aged 18 to 24; the so called “Millennial” generation. Despite being less likely to follow a set bedtime compared to other generations (38% vs. 47% of those aged 25 and over), this group reported getting more sleep each night, on average, than other age groups, with those aged 18-24 getting an average of 7.2 hours, compared to 6.9 hours among those aged 25 and over. They are also more likely to feel guilty about not regularly maintaining good sleep habits as compared to those ages 35 and over (35% vs. 26%).
Now while all of that may sound a bit too “touchy-feely” for many truckers, the impact of sleep deprivation is anything but. In fact, chronic sleep-deprivation, which affects 37% of U.S. workers, is getting so bad that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Sleep Research Society (SRS) and the National Safety Council (NSC) have joined forces in a campaign to get companies to help their workers avoid fatigue and develop healthy sleep habits for long-term success and well-being.
“Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep problem and nearly 60% of them have a chronic disease that can harm their overall health,” said Janet Croft, the senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC’s division of population health. “Lack of sleep and sleep disorders, including stops in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), excessive daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy), restless legs syndrome, and insomnia, are increasingly recognized as linked to chronic disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer.”
And such chronic fatigue is costly in other ways. According to the NSC, fatigued workers cost employers about $1,200 to $3,100 per employee in declining job performance each year, while sleepy workers are estimated to cost employers $136 billion a year in health-related lost productivity.
Sleepiness also impacts transportation in major ways. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that fatigue has been a contributing factor in 20% of its investigations over the last two decades – and it’s why the agency included “reduce fatigue-related accidents” on its 2017–2018 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.
In February, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a research brief estimating that drowsy driving is involved in up to 9.5% of all motor vehicle crashes. Their projections indicate that drowsy driving causes an average of 328,000 motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year, including 6,400 fatal crashes.
On top of all that, the effects of sleepiness are exacerbated and pose a constant struggle for workers who work night shifts or rotating shifts, and for those who work long hours or have an early morning start time.
U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show about 15% of full-time employees in the U.S. perform shift work, many of whom suffer from chronic sleep loss caused by a disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm.
Chronic sleep deprivation is also associated with an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses that negatively impact a worker’s well-being and long-term health, according to the CDC’s research – and insufficient sleep is a big problem in transportation-related categories, the agency added.
In fact, a recent CDC analysis found that the jobs with the highest rates of short sleep duration were communications equipment operators (58.2%), other transportation workers (54%) and rail transportation workers (52.7%).
Along with that, night shift workers and those driving during nighttime hours are most at risk for chronic sleep loss. The NSC found that 59% of night shift workers reported short sleep duration compared to 45% of day workers, while the risk of safety incidents was 30% higher during night shifts compared to morning shifts.
All of that is good fodder for trucking to keep in mind as the industry attempts to handle a surge in freight demand that’s expected to keep on rolling through this year and next.
Monday, May 18, 2020
The ELD mandate rules that all carriers must have FMCSA certified ELDs for trucks installed in their vehicles to comply with the latest regulations. Any violation will directly affect their CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) score.
Now, what are the types of violations that the drivers can avoid?
How will they stay compliant while on the road?
Let’s talk about all that and more in this post.
The common ELD violations all truckers should be aware of
• Not using an FMCSA-compliant ELD device
The most common type of ELD violation is not using FMCSA certified ELDs in the vehicles. Fleet owners or truckers may install cheap ELDs to avoid the upfront costs of upgraded devices and find out later that those are not even in compliance with the FMCSA regulations. That results in a violation under Section 395.22A with a severity weight of 5, which is followed by hefty fines and a reduction in the CSA scores. You can avoid such an adverse situation by checking the list of FMCSA’s registered devices before you set off to buy one. That way you will steer clear of trouble.
• Inability to transfer data when asked
If any trucker fails to transfer data from the ELD device when prompted to do so by an authorized enforcement official, then he or she will be charged with ‘no record of duty’ status under Section 395.8A with the severity weight of 5. This is yet another reason to ensure that you have a fully functional ELD, which can transfer data electronically via Bluetooth or other measures, installed in your vehicles. Remember, it is easy enough to find affordable ELDs for owners and operators, but make sure you buy the equally efficient ones.
• Failure to report a malfunction in the device
Drivers should be aware of any malfunctions in the device so that they can produce supporting documents and switch to a paper log to avoid violation under Section 395.34A1. They should be thoroughly aware of the device diagnostics and probable malfunctions. The ELD manufacturer can shed light on that. Further, the drivers should also submit a written notice to the fleet owner regarding malfunctions, if any, and produce a copy of the document to the enforcement officials to avoid getting penalized. Lastly, the carriers should fix any malfunction within 8 days. In unable to do so, they should get a specific extension from the FMCSA Division Administrator.
• Failure to log in/out
According to the ELD mandate, all truckers must log in to their ELDs before starting their respective journeys and log out after completing their day’s work. Truckers that fail to do so will be charged with ‘no record of duty’ status under Section 395.8A with a severity weight of 5. Hence, fleet owners must provide rigorous training to truckers before they get on to drive the ELD-installed vehicles, so that they grow a habit of logging in/out and do not forget it at any cost.
• The device’s display screen is not visible
If the display screen of the ELD is not visible outside the truck, then the driver can be charged under Section 395.20B for incomplete/wrong log. If you are a driver, you can avoid this situation by ensuring that the device screen is visible from outside the vehicle while mounting it. A little tilting and undocking are acceptable, especially if you are using a portable device like a Smartphone. Mobile devices need not be handed over to the authorized officials to help them check the screen. The drivers can do that on their behalf, without running the risk of breaking the law.
• Failure to manage unassigned driving time
A trucker that fails to assume/decline unassigned driving time on their ELDs can be charged with a violation under Section 395.32B for an incomplete/wrong log. Therefore, all drivers must be thoroughly trained to manage unassigned logs on their ELDs.
Some other ELD violations that all drivers should make a mental note of are, a:
- Failure to maintain ELD instruction sheets for reporting a malfunction
- Failure to provide authentic possession documents in favor of the driver
- Failure to keep the ELD user’s manual within the vehicle
- Failure to add the trailer number, location description, shipping docket number, etc. manually
- Failure to certify the authenticity of the information provided by the ELD
- Although it may seem a lot of work, getting acquainted with any new system requires a certain level of understanding, knowledge, and training. ELD solution providers are also trying to do their bit by ensuring that the changes from the current way of doing things are incremental and easy to understand. And this is all necessary given that 16th Dec. 2019 is just around the corner.
Friday, May 15, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Technology is the unifying theme running through NTSB's updated Most Wanted List this year as well as the related recommendations the agency has.
All indications in the National Transportation Safety Board's latest "Most Wanted List" of problems to fix in transportation point to one thing: in many ways, technology across that broad industry isn't just advancing, it's accelerating. It is both problem and solution.
Learn more at: https://www.fleetowner.com/safety/article/21703470/in-ntsb-top-transport-issues-technologys-pace-quickening-human-error-in-sharp-relief
Saturday, May 9, 2020
A key aspect of buying a towable RV is understanding the tow rating of your current (or future) vehicle. Pay attention to the automobile’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (normally found on a sticker inside the driver’s side door frame). This number is the maximum weight your vehicle should tow.
You don’t want to fall in love with an RV only to find out the RV is too heavy for your vehicle to safely tow. To help you find the right RV, please use our Vehicle Tow Rating Finder as well as our Glossary of Terms.
Learn about capacities here: https://rv.campingworld.com/towguide
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Cummins, the leading diesel engine manufacturer, and Eaton, the leader in heavy-duty transmissions, have joined forces to bring you the SmartAdvantage™ Powertrain. These totally integrated units take the efficiency of Cummins ISX15 with SmartTorque2 (ST2), and combine it with the smooth-shifting Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-Speed automated transmission, for 3-6% better fuel economy. For more information, visit http://cumminsengines.com/smartadvantage
Thursday, April 30, 2020
We are centrally located in Fairfield CA which is approximately 45 miles from San Francisco or Sacramento and about 50 miles from Stockton. We regularly service Fairfield, Vallejo, Rio Vista, Napa, Vacaville, Travis AFB, Winters, Dixon, Davis, Benicia, St. Helena, Calistoga, Suisun City, Green Valley, Crockett, Hercules, San Pablo, Richmond, Concord, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Boyes Hot Springs, Sonoma, Allendale, Cordelia, Pleasant Hill, Pittsburg, Antioch, Novato, American Canyon, Truck Scales and much more. We’ve even gone as far as San Jose, the South Bay and the Peninsula because we always answer the phone 24/7. Solano County is our home turf, but readily service Napa County, Yolo County, Contra Costa County, Sonoma County, Sacramento County, and San Joaquin County, Alameda County and Marin County. We also have been known to travel to San Francisco County, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. In fact, if you need immediate service, we will travel where ever we need to in order to take care of your problem. We are at your service and we mean that sincerely.
A&T “Mobile” Truck Road Service is a part of the BIT Inspection Program and is able to do inspections for you on-site. We are DOT Certified and all BIT inspections are performed utilizing DOT/BIT Inspectors. A&T “Mobile” Truck Road Service meets all requirements under Title 49 of the DOT Inspectors Guide.
Monday, April 27, 2020
The excellence of Bandag retreads is a direct result of Bandag’s sophisticated and highly standardised Retreading Process. State-of-the-art technology builds accuracy and efficiency into every step. Our patented Bandag process is geared towards restoring the original performance level of your tyres while ensuring consistency and reliability, each and every time.
Friday, April 24, 2020
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. Activities of the Administration contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations; targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers; improving safety information systems and commercial motor vehicle technologies; strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards; and increasing safety awareness. To accomplish these activities, the Administration works with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor and safety interest groups, and others.
Commercial Drivers' Licenses
The Administration develops standards to test and license commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Data and Analysis
The Administration collects and disseminates data on motor carrier safety and directs resources to improve motor carrier safety.
Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
The Administration operates a program to improve safety performance and remove high-risk carriers from the Nation's highways.
Research and Technology
The Administration coordinates research and development to improve the safety of motor carrier operations and commercial motor vehicles and drivers.
The Administration provides States with financial assistance for roadside inspections and other commercial motor vehicle safety programs. It promotes motor vehicle and motor carrier safety.
The Administration supports the development of unified motor carrier safety requirements and procedures throughout North America. It participates in international technical organizations and committees to help share the best practices in motor carrier safety throughout North America and the rest of the world. It enforces regulations ensuring safe highway transportation of hazardous materials and has established a task force to identify and investigate those carriers of household goods which have exhibited a substantial pattern of consumer abuse.
Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014
Learn more at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
BRAKE DRUMS & ROTORS
A&T Road Service
1245 Illinois Street
Fairfield, CA 94533707-427-1386
1245 Illinois Street
Fairfield, CA 94533707-427-1386
7:30am to 5:30pm
8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Driver Training for On-Highway Heavy-Duty Truck Engines – Part 5 of 13 in a series of chapters from the Cummins On-Highway Heavy-Duty Truck Engine Driver Training Video Series updated in 2015. This segment discusses the effect RPM has on fuel economy.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Thursday, April 9, 2020
April 6, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has written U.S. Congress reminding them of key issues facing the trucking industry that must be addressed once the Covid-19 crisis passes.
“Without any sort of work-from-home option, truckers are manning the front lines of the industry as they always have done,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA president and CEO. “They certainly welcome the public praise from all who have noticed their role in the pandemic response. But they will need more than words to stay afloat in an uncertain future.”
As the crisis passes, OOIDA wants Congress to prioritize the following:
H.R. 6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, should be passed to address the shortage of parking for trucks. This bipartisan legislation would provide dedicated funding for projects that expand truck parking capacity.
Congress must support the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) efforts to modernize and improve hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. Truckers shouldn’t just get temporary relief when the nation needs their help responding to an emergency.
Congress must take steps to address the persistent problem of excessive detention time, which reduces driver wages, slows the movement of freight and has been linked to increased crash rates. Many drivers spend countless unpaid on-duty hours being detained due to the inefficiency of others within the supply chain.
Congress must repeal the overtime exemption for employee drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The average truck driver works 60-70 hours per week, which is rarely, if ever, reflected in their compensation.
Congress must waive the 2020 payment of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) to provide immediate tax relief to owner-operators, many of which are struggling to keep their businesses operational during and after the crisis.
“These aren’t necessarily the only issues in trucking that need to change to bring improvements,” added Spencer. “But memes and applause don’t pay bills or reduce the overregulation that keep them from making a living. These are things that Congress can move quickly on to help truck drivers.” The complete letter can be read here.
Monday, April 6, 2020
A = A Single Number. As a matter of policy, the FMCSA assigns a unique USDOT number to each person or entity that registers. A one-to-one relationship should exist between a legal entity and a USDOT number, but the FMCSA’s position is not hard and fast regarding this stance. Some companies do have multiple USDOT numbers, but it is the FMCSA’s preference that divisions and terminals report up through the corporate USDOT number. The agency does prohibit companies from obtaining or keeping multiple USDOT numbers to avoid compliance, mask or conceal non-compliance, or hide a history of non-compliance. The unique identifier policy is also the reason that USDOT numbers are not transferable. When, as a result of a sale or merger, a new entity is created (as identified by a new FEIN), the new entity will also need a new USDOT number to continue transportation operations.
B = BASICs Influencer. Five of the seven Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) BASICs rely solely on the number of relevant inspections within the BASIC to determine a carrier’s scoring and resulting peer group ranking. However, two of the BASICs, Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator, also take into consideration how many “at bats” the carrier has. These two BASICs have a utilization factor that incorporates the number of power units and the vehicle miles traveled into the methodology formulas. It stands to reason that if all things are equal, a carrier that has twice as many powered vehicles and travels twice as many miles in a year will have twice the number of accidents and unsafe driving violations. Because of this factor, carriers that are growing should/must update their MCS-150 more often than every other year so they can be properly compared with their peers.
When carriers are reducing their size, based on vehicle counts, it’s as important to provide updates more often than biennially. This is because the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan uses a carrier’s MCS-150 vehicle count as the starting point to determine the fee bracket. The more vehicles reported, the greater the likelihood of being in a higher fee bracket. Changing from one bracket to the next can mean the difference of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars that the carrier pays.
C = Counting Vehicles and Drivers. As stated, getting the counts right can make a difference in a carrier’s CSA peer group and the fee bracket for UCR. But what vehicles and drivers should be counted? At first glance, the driver count seems the more difficult of the two to calculate. The FMCSA wants the drivers broken out by the number that operate strictly intrastate (within one state) and the number that operate interstate (in multiple states). The agency then wants those totals broken down into drivers that operate exclusively within a 100 air-mile radius and drivers that work outside of the 100 air-mile radius. Those four totals need to add up to the total number of drivers.
From the total number of drivers, a separate count is needed for the number of CDL drivers. At this point, it seems almost as bad as doing your own taxes on the long form, but it needn’t be. The driver counts are based on an average workday. The FMCSA is not expecting carriers to break out the spreadsheets and pivot tables. They are looking for an educated overview of the operation. The data is used more from a census point of view rather than from an enforcement stance. Your driver count does not enter into the calculation of any safety scores.
The exercise is completed more easily when you work it out backwards. Start with the number of drivers that operate CMVs on any given (average) day. Break that count into drivers that are likely to stay within 100 air-miles (not necessarily qualifying for the short-haul exception). The outside the air-mile number is then the difference from the total. Break those numbers out into the average that run intrastate versus interstate. The interstate versus intrastate breakdown is most important if taking advantage of the often more permissive intrastate rules.
Counting vehicles seems like it would be easier than drivers, and it might be if the count also used the “on an average workday” instructions. But, the MCS-150 instructions are a bit confusing regarding which vehicles to count. Thankfully, MCSA-1 will eventually replace the MCS-150. The MCSA-1 is much clearer and provides exactly what the FMCSA is looking for.
The vehicle count is based on the number of vehicles, on the day the form is submitted, that have a weight of 10,001 pounds or more (rated, actual or used in combination) and are operating under the carrier’s USDOT number. For the purpose of the operation, count vehicles that are registered to the carrier or have been leased for more than 30 days in the last year. On the MCS-150 there is no distinction between inter- and intrastate vehicles. If the vehicle meets the description above, it should be counted.
The count does need to be broken down by the type of vehicle and whether the vehicle is owned by the carrier or leased. Leased vehicles are subdivided by whether the lease agreement is a term or a trip lease. The vehicle types are relatively straight forward. But one question that is often asked in this area is how to count pickup style trucks. Pickups are considered straight trucks.
The old adage goes, if all else fails, read the directions. That’s good advice when registering or updating your registration with the FMCSA. On paper, the MCS-150 is three pages, but the form comes with eight pages of instructions and examples. For the most part, the instructions are simple and written in plain English. As with taxes, filers have two additional options: filing electronically or hiring a professional. The electronic versions have some help available through the process, which makes it a little easier. Since professionals are familiar with the process, there should be no guessing or headaches for those who choose this option.
By Wayne Schooling
Posted in: Wayne's World
Posted in: Wayne's World
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About Wayne Schooling
Wayne Schooling has been in the transportation business since 1962. Starting out as a driver, Wayne later made the switch to management. Over the years, he has accumulated 22 various awards and honors, been involved with 6 professional affiliations, has spoken at several lectures, and earned 3 professional diplomas. Wayne, who has written for 10-4 Magazine since 1994, is currently President Emeritus of the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA).
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Friday, April 3, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Exceptional Engineering: The Making of an American Truck
The Swedish automotive group Volvo has been producing trucks for the North American market since the late 1970s. Every ten minutes, a new truck rolls off the assembly line, with a tailor-made production line equipped to cater to individual customer requirements. More than 500 color tones are available for the cab paint job alone. After just one day in assembly, the new trucks are ready to roll on public highways throughout the United States provided they have successfully completed a test drive on the factory track.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Q. What should I do at the scene of an accident ?
. STOP Immediately and move only if it is safe to do so.
Call 911 if there are injuries.
Call the police. In some areas, police authorities may respond
to every accident scene. They may consider factors such as the
severity and location of the accident (some police authorities
will not come to the scene if the accident is on private property).
However, you should attempt to notify the police. You should
also be aware that most policies require notification to the police
within a specified time period if the accident is a hit and run.
Obtain names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver’s
license numbers from all drivers.
Obtain license plate(s) and vehicle identification numbers. Ask
to see driver’s license(s) and vehicle registration(s) to verify the
information is accurate.
Obtain names, addresses, and telephone numbers of other
passengers and any witnesses.
If you have a camera or a cellphone, take photographs of
the damage, and the accident scene (traffic controls, visual
If the owner of a damaged car or damaged property cannot be
located, leave a note with the names and addresses of the driver
and owners of the involved cars.
Notify your agent and/or your insurance company immediately.
If anyone is injured or the vehicle damage exceeds $750.00, you must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. Failure to notify the DMW may result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
Learn more at: http://optimastaging.com/optimatemplate5/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Accident-What-Next-Brochure-10-15-15.pdf