Trux v. Train: Getting Plugged at the RRX

Salt Lake City 1-21-2017

All the Right Moves . . .

The driver was doing everything right. After all, he had crossed these tracks hundreds of times. Not to shake up the freight in the trailers the driver took the tracks carefully and slowly.

The following then happened . . .

 

Preventable or Not?

Fact 1:

The warning lights and barrier arms failed to deploy. At least not until after the collision occurred.

Fact 2:

Under federal regulations locomotive horns must be sounded for 15-20 seconds before entering all public grade crossings, but not more than one-quarter mile in advance.

Unless they are in a “dead zone” or quiet zone.

There are six types of quiet zones:

  • A Pre-Rule Quiet Zone (Full or Partial) is a quiet zone that was established before October 9, 1996, and in place as of December 18, 2003.
  • An Intermediate Quiet Zone is a quiet zone that was established after October 9, 1996, but before December 18, 2003.
  • New Quiet Zones are those that do not meet the criteria for Pre-Rule or Intermediate Quiet Zones.
  • Partial Quiet Zonesare quiet zones where the horn is silenced for only a portion of the day, typically between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Full Quiet Zones are zones where the horn is silenced 24 hours per day.

FACT 3:

Locomotives may deploy their ‘alerting lights’ or crossing lights before the crossing.

Before this collision at least two headlights on the locomotive at visible.

In view of these facts:

Was this collision preventable or not? Was there anything the driver could have or should have done differently? Why didn’t the truck driver stop?

Up to nine collisions a week occur between trains and commercial motor vehicles.

Thank you for reading this.

 

Five Bold Choices by Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian

5 Bold Choices by by Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian

Who Are Jay Coughlan and Larry Julian?

Jay Coughlan ran several successful software companies and Larry Julian writes bestsellers on the intersection of faith and work. Together their combined stories provide the synergy that resulted in Five Bold Choices: Rise above your Circumstances and Redefine Your Life.

Masters of the pitch, be it Coughlan making sixteen presentations in a day on Wall Street, or Julian pitching publisher’s row 19 times for his first book, they now direct their attention to anyone seeking transformation–based on the knowledge and experience they gained from their own ups and downs.

Coughlan and Julian found transformation is only possible through volition. Change needs to be not only a choice, but a Bold Choice.

This was not always apparent to either of the authors in the course of their lives. Both authors were able to change who they are from who they were. And they want to help others to reach their potential.

The Bold Choices

The first Bold Choice is Clarity or keeping the important things important. Sometimes that can be as simple as writing down your goals (most people don’t). Other times it’s distinguishing between the things that are energy giving or energy draining.

The next Bold Choice is that of accountability. Did you know a survey of over 500 executives by the American Management Association found 38% of business leaders cite fear of being held responsible for mistakes or failures, as one of the factors holding them back? (page 64) But failure can be turned around. Coughlan says instead of asking what you did wrong, start with asking what you did right–then move to what could you have done differently, and what do you need to change?

The third Bold Choice is adaptability. Coughlan goes to prison and had to adapt to his new reality. Julian talks about his struggles over seven years to get his first book published. Only after internal change had taken place could they see any progress.

The fourth Bold Choice is confidence. Confidence often comes in two flavors–too little or too much. Both can be a dominant tendency in your life and both can result in poor leadership or decision-making. The authors suggest the key is less hubris and more humility.

The last Bold Choice is balance. Balance can only be achieved by making the decision to decide, a word from the Latin decidere, which means, literally, to cut off or cut away. One decision-making method as to what to let go is the 168-Hour Test, based on 168 hours in a week, listing out the important, as well as the unimportant things, to restore balance. And that will take you back to the first Bold Choice, to repeat the cycle of Bold Choices.

The authors end with several chapters on gratitude. Be thankful for all your challenges in life and business, good and bad. It’s all about the journey. It always was.

There are seven discussion guides in the book, to help the reader reflect on the lessons of the Five Bold Choices.

I recommend this book for anyone who feels someone they know or their own life or career could be off-track or out of balance and need practical answers. That could include parents, counselors, life-coaches, and executive-coaches.

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer. A review copy was provided by the authors. 

Safety Belts, Safety Belts, Safety Belts . . .

driver ejected, critical conditionDo You Have a Seat-Belt Policy?

The windshield shows some damage from the driver’s head, but is otherwise intact. The side window next to the steering wheel is missing, so one can assume the driver was not wearing his safety belt when he was ejected through the window . . .

In the course of a loss-prevention survey I will ask insureds if they have a seat-belt policy. Of course, everyone says they do, the policy in writing, and that the driver has acknowledged the policy.

. . . and then we move on to the next question.

Saturday, Jan 21, 2017–Three men, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the truck onto the median in the crash on Saturday.

Three men, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the truck onto the median in the crash on Saturday. Boston Globe

“1 killed, 2 injured in Plymouth truck crash”

A 47-year-old North Reading man was killed and two other men were seriously injured when a freight truck flipped over in the median of Route 25 in Plymouth on Saturday afternoon, State Police said.

The driver of the truck, a 30-year-old man from Peabody, and a passenger, a 24-year-old Revere man, were taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham with serious injuries, according to the State Police.

The three men, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the truck onto the median, said Lieutenant Tom Ryan, a State Police spokesman.

This second photo is from another truck crash, on the same day (this past weekend), in which all three occupants were ejected from the vehicle, one fatally.

None of these employees wore a safety belt, and all paid a dear price for that omission. So will their company, not only in disrupted operations, but in the form of higher insurance premiums, damage to reputation, and loss of good will.

Just the Facts . . .

Certainly these are both bad wrecks, and not all of the facts are in yet . . . but would the outcome have been different if everyone was wearing a seat belt? Would the belted driver(s) have remained in the seat in a manner to sustain control of the vehicle, enough to avoid a more serious crash and subsequent serious injuries? Would have wearing a safety belt made a life or death difference?

One big difference we know for sure from driver studies, is that drivers who do not wear their safety belts are considered risky drivers. They may have other bad habits . . . like speeding and not following the rules.

Drivers who do not wear a safety belt self-identify as the bad-boys of the transportation industry.

Is that who you want driving for you?

Thank you for reading this.

The Age of Digital Transformation (Infographic)

Key findings from the fourth annual Logicalis Global CIO Survey.

What You Don’t Know, May Disrupt Your Business . . . if Not Kill It

Key findings from the fourth annual Logicalis Global CIO Survey, based on a survey of 708 CIOs worldwide include “shadow IT” departments and, of course, data security.

Jeanne Wenzel Ross,  Director of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research, says technology by itself is no big deal, and technology, per se, offers no advantages to the user.

That’s because technology is readily accessible to anyone. Hence the growth of Shadow and Stealth IT within organizations, as the infographic points out.

To make technology work for you, says Dr. Ross, it needs to be integrated into all areas of the business. This integration falls under the concept of “enterprise architecture,” or how you will merge technology with your strategy, across the business.

The alternative is each department doing its own thing (silos), with the hope of having IT wire it all together.

Resource: 10 Digital Transformation book recommendations for IT and Business Leaders

Thank you for reading this.

Roundabout Dangers

roundabout crash

The Wheel of Misfortune

It was 9 AM on a Monday morning when the 58 year-old driver of a 2000 Freightliner pulling doubles approached the westbound Business U.S. 10 roundabout, near Midland, Michigan.

The driver didn’t slow enough before the roundabout. Losing control, he flipped the tractor and lead trailer upside down. His foot was pinned under the dash, but fortunately he was freed by the Midland Fire Department with only minor injuries.

West Business 10 roundabout crash

The Next Big Thing

Roundabouts are one of the latest ‘big things’ in road design. Roundabouts are promoted by the DOT as an overall safer means to connect traffic flows by eliminating left turns and the need to make stops.

Safer does not mean accident free. Some of the insurance carriers I work with are experiencing some large claims involving roundabouts, and motor carriers are advised to develop new driver training objectives for negotiating roundabouts.

What is a Roundabout?

A roundabout consists of a central island, usually surrounded by an apron (truck apron), and one to two lane carriageway (circulatory roadway). The spokes or lanes of the carriageway (the legs) are divided by splitter islands.

Parts of a roundabout

Other Features

  • Traffic travels counterclockwise around the center island.
  • Roundabouts come in all shapes and sizes, not only circular. Some are oval-shaped, teardrop-shaped, peanut-shaped, and dogbone-shaped.
  • Some have as few as three legs. Others as many as six.
  • Vehicles entering the roundabout need to yield the right of way to traffic already circulating, and to pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  • Traffic already inside the carriageway or circulatory roadway will always keep moving in the roundabout. This traffic has the right-of-way.

While there are now over two-dozen roundabouts in the Kansas City area alone, it seems like very few drivers know how to use them properly.  Phillip B. Grubaugh, Esq.

No Excuses!

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) need basic training on roundabouts. The duration, scope of this training will depend on their area of service and the types of roundabouts they will encounter.

Roundabouts have been used for years in the UK and Europe. Studies have found articulated vehicles are more prone to over turning in roundabouts.

Trucks and CMVs overturn for two main reasons: the vehicle is going too fast or the driver turns too quickly, usually resulting in loss of control.

While roundabouts can be safer, drivers need to drive safer as vehicles are close together and events can happen quickly in a roundabout.

Inadequate surveillance is one of the top 10 factors in truck crashes, according to the DOT. Drivers miss cues or are distracted and are not able to properly respond. Generally, roundabouts or traffic circles will have a sign or two before their placement showing its design or type.  The U.S. DOT recommends that this signage be modified to reflect the number and alignment of approaches. Other signs warn drivers to stay right, advise of an appropriate speed, and to yield the right of way.

Traveling too fast for conditions is another of the top 10 factors is truck crashes. A key characteristic of the roundabout is a slower than normal speed, usually 20 miles per hour or lower. Sometimes the posted speed may be in the 30 to 35 MPH range. But because the roundabout is, well, round or circular by definition, CMV drivers need to drive 10 miles per hour under that speed.

Avoid Conflicts

CMV drivers in a roundabout also need to be mindful of:

  • Following too close
  • Familiarity with the roadway
  • Illegal maneuvers (other vehicles suddenly stopping or swerving)
  • Yielding to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Other vehicles next to them or attempting to pass

I would further recommend motor carriers incorporate a roundabout on the driver’s road test.

Love them or hate them, roundabouts are a fact of modern driving and we might as well get used to them . . .

Resource: How to Drive a Multi-Lane Roundabout (Semi-trucks with Trailers) WI-DOT

Thank you for reading this.

Stay in the “Right Lane”

Fatal Toronto crash

Stay Right

A basic rule of driving safety is to stay in the right lane. It’s not only a good guideline, but in many states it’s the law: stay right unless passing then get back over. Some highways ban commercial vehicles from the far left lane.

The right lane is the traveling lane for commercial vehicles.

Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport has put out a video reminding drivers to stay in the right lane or “right” lane.

There are a number of good reasons the right lane can be safer. One reason is that the right lane less kinetic than the left lane. Traffic is usually a little slower and on a divided highway, there’s more space separating your vehicle from oncoming traffic.

Another important factor is giving yourself an “out” (remember the Smith System), if you need to get over quickly.

If there are multi-lanes going in the same direction, with a lot of heavy traffic leaving the road or merging back on, then sometimes the center lane is a safe bet to avoid stop and go traffic, but leave plenty of following distance in case traffic does stop.

Dec 27 2016 Fatal Bronx Crash

On Dec 27, 2016, three occupants of this pickup traveling in the center lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway were fatally injured when the tractor trailer in front of them stopped, but the one behind them did not. 

Of course there are times you need to go to the left lane. If you are coming up on a left-leading exit, then pre-positioning your vehicle for the exit lane is a good idea.

Tip: Keep white on the right. A solid white line on the right hand side of the vehicle means you are travelling in the correct direction. A yellow line on your right side could indicate you are travelling in an oncoming lane!

It is the law in every state to move over a lane if police or emergency vehicles are in the right lane or on the right shoulder. Even if it’s not the law, it’s a safe driving courtesy to give extra space to broken-down vehicles on the shoulder.

Another good rule to follow is to avoid making any unnecessary lane changes. Lane changes are considered a hazardous maneuver.

In our last blog, a recent single-vehicle collision was highlighted, resulting in a number of steel beams cutting through the cab. Wouldn’t you know it . . . the driver wasn’t in the right-most lane . . .

Left lane collision

Thank you for reading this. Many thanks to Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport,

Load Securement: The Real Deal for Steel

I-94 Incident 10-18-2016

“East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’,
We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done.
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run”–Jerry Reed

East Bound and Down

The driver was heading eastbound on I-94, near Ann Arbor. At around 2 PM on October 18, 2016, authorities were notified of a single vehicle incident that took place near Scio Church Road.

Like many crashes, details are sketchy. Fortunately, the driver was not injured and walked away from the scene.

“The beams broke free and some went through the cab and front windshield, just missing the driver,” said Michigan State Police Sgt. Jeffery Munoz.

One report says the driver mashed on his brakes because a car cut him off.

In any case, a number heavy steel beams and smaller steel pieces narrowly missed the driver as they sliced through the cab and continued through the front windshield.

Post-Incident Consequences

Who should pay for this crash?

Most of us would say, well, the insurance company, right? The carrier had insurance, didn’t they?

Of course the carrier is required to have minimum amounts of auto liability and physical damage. These policies do not cover cargo or freight.

Cargo insurance, also known as motor truck cargo (MTC) insurance, is a form of inland marine insurance, that covers physical loss or damage (but not liability-related losses).

Or does it?

When it comes to cargo, the rights, duties and liabilities of shippers and carriers under federal law are governed under a 1935 law known as Carmack, (49 U.S.C. §14706–Liability of carriers under receipts and bills of lading), as well as general principles of federal transportation law. The federal Carmack Amendment applies to the interstate shipments of regulated commodities, under a bill of lading.

State laws apply to intrastate shipments, and when the provisions of Carmack 49 USC § 14101(b) have been waived.

Carmack defines transportation as: services related to that movement, including arranging for, receipt, . . . storage, handling, packing, unpacking, and interchange of passengers and property. (49 U.S.C. § 13102(23))

One way to cover potential liabilities under Carmack is by cargo insurance. Motor Truck Cargo insurance (Cargo) provides insurance on the freight or commodity hauled by a For-hire trucker.

If the insurance company pays on a claim, it may not end there. The insurance company has a right to reimbursement from the motor carrier for any claims outside the scope of its coverage.

An example would be an an exceptional shipment, such as an over-dimensional item. Policies might contain Unattended Truck Exclusions (unless the vehicle is in a secure area as a building, or under constant surveillance, or under guard) or a “72-Hour Storage Exclusion” if the trailer or semi trailer is detached from the power unit for seventy-two (72) consecutive hours (Sundays and holidays excluded). The policy likely contains an “Employee Infidelity Exclusion” for damages due to mysterious disappearance, the infidelity, dishonesty or criminal act of the Insured, his employees, his agents or others to whom the cargo may be entrusted; including operators under contract to the Insured . . .

Another important exclusion would be for damages caused by improper load securement.

“This insurance does not insure the liability of the Insured for cargo damaged while in transit resulting from improper, or inept loading or improper securement.”

The most common defense raised by carriers to freight damage is “shipper fault,” according to the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). Motor carriers will allege the shipper improperly packaged or loaded the cargo.

Certain commodities like steel can be challenging to secure. Meeting the minimum federal load securement requirements may not always be enough. Sometimes extra securement devices and/or dunnage are necessary and should be the rule, not the exception, to prevent the possibility of a costly cargo claim or worse.

Thank you for reading this.