3 Ways for Truck Drivers to Stay Safe on the Roads this Winter

3 Ways for truck drivers to stay safe on the roads this winter

With icy roads, snow storms and generally unwelcoming weather right around the corner, it is time to start preparing for winter. For those of you who are on the road most of the time, it’s important to make sure that you and your truck are ready for whatever comes your way. So what can you do to prepare? We’ve put together a list of tips to keep you safe this season.

Pre-Trip Prep

You’ve heard it before: preparation is key. The best tip we can give for a safe, smooth ride is to do your prep work. Know your route, know where the best rest stops are and have a backup plan. Monitor the weather to figure out where the weather is the worst and where it is the best so you can better plan where you should stop. Keep extra essentials on-hand, both for you and for your truck. Good supplies to keep for you include an extra blanket, flashlight, coat, water and a charger. For your truck, it’s good to keep sand or salt, extra windshield-wiper fluid, jumper cables and a windshield scraper.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Know your truck. If you’re in the same truck you’ve been in for years, you know your truck’s limits and shortcomings. You know when you need to break, how it handles turns and how it drives on the ice. If you’re in a new truck, or are relatively new to the trade, it’s important to take these points into consideration before you head out into stormy weather. Give yourself extra space to turn and brake. And no matter how long you’ve been on the road, always watch out for black ice, which appears most often on bridges, intersections, overpasses and naturally cooler spots.

Inspect Your Truck

You always inspect your truck, you’ve been doing it for years, we know. Inspections are always important, but during the winter they’re crucial. Before your trip, double and triple check your lights, tires, fluid levels and windshield wipers. Make time during stop offs to check you truck again.

Are You Ready for Winter?

Depending on where you are, you probably still have time to get ready for the cold season. Here at Loadsmart, we want you to stay safe on the road. When the weather turns bad, it’s easy for both sides to get frustrated. With our GPS tracking and open chat platform features, we make it effortless to stay connecting, ensuring a better experience for everyone. Interested? Sign up for free here to access these tools and all of Loadsmart’s other features.

The 411 on Arkansas New Speed Limit For Trucks

-New signs are being put up today to raise the speed limit for trucks on rural interstates to 70 mph.

-Last week Arkansas’ Highway Commission removed the 65 mph speed limit for heavy trucks, citing congestion as a factor.

-The change will mainly impact Arkansas interstate 40, 30 and 55.

– The reality is you will still be seeing trucks going 65mph and under.

-Many trucking companies like Celadon and CalArk international have electronic governors to limit the trucks speed to 65 and they are not planning on changing the limits, citing safety concerns.

-The ATA has a petition pending before the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration for a nationwide 65mph speed limit for trucks.

For more on the reasoning behind raising the speed limit go to The Trucker>>

For more on why it should have stayed at 65mph go to Arkansas Online>>

Virginia Tech Still Looking For Truckers Interested in Making Over $2,000 to Join 34 Hour Restart Study

If you drive at night, work over 60 hours, and use the restart provision you qualify to make $2,166. All data found is completely confidential.

What you will do->

1. They add a camera facing inward and another towards the road.

2. Wear a wrist activity monitor.

3.  5 minute health background survey.

4.  Dedicate no more than 30 minutes a day to:

  • Complete sleep diary and caffeine log
  • Perform smartphone based assessments
  • Track hours of service using an ELD (Electronic Logging Device)

For more info go to Restart Study>> 

Truckers Against Trafficking has Recently Recruited Michigan Police and Virginia Trucking Association

Truckers Against Trafficking is a non-profit established in 2011. They have many influential partners and sponsors including Ryders, FreightLiner, Volvo, Con-Way, and Walmart. On their website they have not only a vague and impossible to achieve mission statement but definite goals that are possible to reach. Goals that are currently being reached.

  • Marshal the resources of the trucking industry to combat this crime.
  • Partner with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking.

They have recently partnered with the Michigan State Police. The partnership will result in training to all state police motor carrier officers, working with truck stop managers directly, and ultimately train drivers, carriers, and travel plaza managers on how to deal with this issue when it comes up.

Truckers Against Trafficking has also recently partnered with the Virginia Trucking Association. They already have 33 states trucking associations working with them. The VTA has pledged to raise awareness with all of it member companies and to assist law enforcement, among other thing.

It is our duty to be informed about the terrible crimes that unfortunately surround us and more important it is our duty to take action when presented the opportunity.

For more on this incredible non-profit go to Truckers Against Trafficking 

Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

The NTSB identifies what transportation safety issues need improvement by examining their accident investigations. Their goal is to increase awareness about what the transportation sector needs to improve on and recommends solutions.

The number of accidents involving large trucks, a number that use to decrease, has been increasing since 2009. They want to push for medically fit exams of drivers before being allowed on the road.

NTSB Most Wanted List 2015

Disconnect from Deadly Distractions

End Substance Impairment in Transportation

Enhance Public Helicopter Safety

Implement Positive Train Control in 2015

Improve Rail Tank Car Safety

Make Mass Transit Safer

Prevent Loss of Control in Flight in General Aviation

Require Medical Fitness for Duty

Strenthen Commercial Trucking Safety

Strengthen Procedural Compliance

2015’s Official List

Go to USA Today for further details>>

Drivers Needed For 34 Hour Restart Study

The FMCSA will pay drivers to participate, carriers for lost revenue and for the cost of installing data collecting technology.

The Details

  • Drivers will drive their normal routes.
  • Drivers will complete 3 minute alertness tests everyday.
  • Drivers will maintain sleep, wake, and caffeine intake logs, as well as report sleepiness.
  • The driver will be a part of one of two groups. The first group will follow the restart rules that require two 1 am to 5 am periods in the 34 restart while the other group can restart whenever they want.

If interested click here>>

15 Days Before Christmas: Tips For Winter Driving By Ryder System Inc.

It’s 15 days before Christmas and we want to make sure you’re around to enjoy this holiday season. With extreme weather associated to 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries, and 1.5 million crashes annually, Ryder Systems Inc has got some helpful tips for truck fleets this winter and they plan on continuing to post tips. From basic tips like regenerating the engine when the lights come on and not letting your trucking idle to more advanced tips.

Check out Ryder’s 5 winter preparedness tips for safe drivers>>


The 15 days before Christmas picture is brought to you by Truck Trucking>>

6 Ways To Avoid Jammers Cargo Theft

Although the use of jamming devices is not as prevalent as it is in other countries it is still a growing concern in the United States. Freightwatch international addressed this in a webinar  last week.

Freightwatch international tips

1. Report suspicious vehicles ASAP.

2. Keep your loads moving

3. Call in your stops and starts

4. Stop as far back at roadblocks as possible.

5. Cargo and trailer walls reduce jammer effectiveness

6. Another way to make jammers less effective is by having multiple devices, at the front and back of a load.



Oversized Loads Looking for Exemption of 30 Minute Break

The hours of service rule requiring all drivers to take a 30 minute break within their first 8 hours of on-duty is being challenged by the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association. The SC&RA is asking the FMCSA for an exemption for oversized and overweight loads. Explaining that oversized and overweight loads need special permits that limit when they can actually drive. The required 30 minute break usually falls within the limited hours of transportation allowed by these permits. The SC&RA also discussed the safety issues that have materialized with having to take these breaks. With these larger loads it is hard to find a place to park and has resulted in oversized loads parking along highways and exits. The exemption would only apply to carriers with said permits.



FMCSA is Getting Ready for E-Logging Mandate

The FMCSA ELD mandate requires all truckers who have to keep records of duty status to do so on e-logging devices, this mandate will begin sometime in 2017. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has started preparing for the e-logging mandate by registering FMCSA approved e-logging devices. Those registered will be put up on the FMCSA website as approved ELD makers once they’ve met all requirements. FMCSA estimates 22 electronic logging device makers and about 88 e-logging devices will be registered.

Flexible Sleeper Pilot Program coming in 2016

The current rule is that drivers who use the sleeper berth must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the berth and two separate consecutive hours either in or out of the berth. This is a very firm rule with no flexibility, therefore the American Trucking Association and other industry groups are asking the FMCSA to consider altering said rule. The FMCSA has been working on this pilot program for a year now but finally looks to be coming along. The FMCSA is testing the hypothesis that “greater flexibility will reduce driver fatigue.” How will the Sleeper Pilot Program work?

Sleeper Pilot Program

  •  Goals to collect data from 200 drivers
    • 50 small carriers w 50 trucks
    • 50 medium carriers w up to 500 trucks
    • 50 large carriers
    • 25 owner operated
    • 25 team drivers

These drivers will be trained at the North American Fatigue Management Program and will be tracked with onboard monitoring systems and their sleep patterns will be tracked with actigraph watches. More data on safe driving will also be collected.

For more information go to Trucking Info>>

FMCSA regulation plans for 2015

In one year FMCSA will propose five rules to alter regulations in the trucking industry.This month alone the FMCSA will propose an increase in liability insurance for motor carriers. This is going to be a year of change, let’s see what’s coming.

Changes in the Trucking Industry

  • Agency’s safety fitness determination carriers scoring plan.
  • Speed Limiters on all Class 8’s
  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse- a data with all truck drivers that failed or refused a drug or alcohol test. Also mandating motor carriers to see the data before hiring.
  • Mandating e-log devices
  • Forbid coercion between truck drivers
  • Make it easier for military members to get a CDL. (in the works)

For more info go to CCJ Digital>>

Congressmen tell FMCSA errors in sleep apnea testing

Congressmen are concerned about FMCSA’s recommended training organizations who are incorrectly teaching medical examiners how to test sleep apnea on truckers. How to handle sleeping disorders are being argued by many. Although it was first recommended to strengthen it’s guidance by medical examiners, the trucking industry was concerned because that decision did not clearly state what the responsibilities of motor carriers and other employers would be. The new recommendation is to write a new rule that not only covers  the new developments on sleep disorders but an understanding on the impact of such a rule, including its cost and benefits which is estimated at $1 billion a year by the American Trucking Association. Trucking Info>> 

Driver accuses trucking company of falsifying logs. It’s a bigger issue…

LoadSmart knows the reality of the trucking industry and falsifying logs. Although it is currently the reality it is not right to the driver. It needs to evolve or hours of service will continue to correlate with another huge issue which is driver shortage. We need to fix the trucking industries model. For more information on the drivers accusation of a topic that we know is all over the trucking industry, falsifying logs go to NBC>>