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This part380.com blog helps individuals and organizations mobilize (act and comply) for DOT regulations, with a proactive management philosophy.

Fed Up: Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America

Fed Up

The Most Important, Most Powerful Institution in the World

It probably is, as the author suggests, “the most important, powerful institution in the world.” A better understanding of the ongoing errant behavior of this centenarian creature of Congress is the goal of Fed Up.

It’s the system, man. The Federal Reserve System, its official name. You may know it as the Federal Reserve. Or simply The Fed. And if it wasn’t misbehaving, that might have made for a different book title . . .

Zero Interest Rate Policy

One of the biggest errors of the Fed, says DiMartino Booth, was its December 16, 2008 move toward a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) on the Fed funds rate–paid by banks to banks. (Chap 1.) The Fed funds rate also affects the Prime rate, paid by bank consumers and the interest rates paid to savers.

At this time DiMartino Booth was already working for the Research Department of the Dallas Fed, which gave her a unique insider’s view of the behind-the-scenes action.

While the ZIRP prescription seemed to work, with the U.S. “officially” out of the recession by the middle of 2009, the zero interest rate policy didn’t change until the end of 2015. Things can move sooo slowly at the Fed . . .

In the mean time, savers, especially retirees, are cheated out of billions of dollars, year after year. And inefficient zombie corporations are being kept alive well past their natural lifespan, helping to create a drag on the economy.

Secrecy . . .

Equally disturbing was the Fed’s veil of secrecy in making $3.3 trillion dollars in loans to Wall Street (Chap 14), all the while tightening credit requirements to Main Street. I can still recall all the controversy in 1979 surrounding the so-called Chrysler Bailout. One loan to one company. All kinds of concessions were required by both labor and management and no one was happy at the time. Flash forward to the beginning of the Great Recession and thousands of loans were made in secret to some of the biggest corporations and banks in the world, and yet where were the so-called public defenders?

Inflation Anyone?

Another ill-effect of current Fed policy is an inflation rate running ahead of wage increases. A cart of groceries can cost a family hundreds of dollars. Not to worry, the Fed’s economists (their numbers are legion), don’t bother to calculate the cost of food (or fuel) in their economic models, so why should we? A local insurance agent tells me a number of folks on fixed incomes have let their home insurance lapse in order to pay more pressing bills. Say what? This would be what is considered anecdotal evidence by the Fed, not worthy of their high and mighty data sets.

Danielle DiMartino Booth concludes with suggestions for a more streamlined Federal Reserve System. Congress needs to end the Fed’s dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment (price, per se, is simply information), and focus on stabilizing the buying power of the U.S. dollar. The Fed needs to stop its manipulation of the currency (via inflation) to jolt savers into spending money. In short, the Fed is in need of some serious, serious reform.

I agree and recommend reading Fed Up to anyone wanting to learn more on how the U.S. economy arrived at its current–depending on who you ask–stagnate state, and what is needed to insure it is able to move forward now and in the future.

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the author.

 

Blown off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?

Driver blown off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Another Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tragedy Unfolds

The drive yesterday noon on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was described as blustery at best. Bridge officials had declared a Level 1 wind advisory, with winds over 40 mph.

The driver, 47, of Greenville, N.C., with about twenty years of experience, was at the 15 mile marker in the southbound lane ear the Eastern Shore side, when it is believed a gust of wind resulted in his tractor-trailer leaving the bridge.

Dangerous Winds

I’ve written on the dangers of wind when pulling vans. There are several things to keep in mind about the wind:

  1. Basic wind speed is an average. As an average, that means at times the actual wind speeds will be higher.
  2. The wind gust factor is about 1.5. So a 40 mile wind, like yesterday on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, with winds gusting over 47 mph, could really result in winds over 53 MPH or greater. This is likely enough, if the conditions are right, to overturn a tractor pulling a lightly loaded van.
  3. Wind is totally unpredictable and variable. As the earth turns the sun heats the surface and creates a force that results in “wind” as warm air rises and cold air sinks.

Who’s in Charge Here?

It’s up to the driver to make the determination he or she can safely negotiate a windy stretch of road, bridge, or ridge. Some highways have windsocks for drivers. Usually weather reports will indicate the day’s forecast for wind gusts. Encourage drivers to check them and take note . . .

Although rescued from the water by a U.S. Navy helicopter, the driver died enroute to a hospital. Water temperature was estimated to be about 47 degrees F. at the time.

About thirty minutes after the crash, Chesapeake Bay Bridge officials hiked restrictions to Level 2, requiring tractor-trailers to be loaded with more than 30,000 pounds of cargo. Since its construction, this was the seventh truck to have gone off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, with only one survivor to date.

Thank you for reading this.

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.

When to Update/Upgrade Your Trucking Technology

trucking technology

When is the Right Time?

“Most mistakes are made before the club is swung,” said the late master golf coach and pro, Harvey Penick.

Penick’s advice was to review the fundamentals, if one’s play was poor. Grip, stance, aim and ball position are success factors in placing the ball where you want it.

In this time of the so-called ‘digital disruption,’ anyone involved in transportation needs to review the fundamental success factors as well. One important success factor in trucking is technology.

digital boardroom

Digital boardroom technology

When is the best time to invest in technology to insure your success factors are in place? Which technology should we choose? What is the next thing?

New Organizational Capability.

The first consideration should be that any technology is not an end game in of itself. Adding a new technology can be counterproductive or even wasteful, if one does not know how to use it or doesn’t fully use it.

A few years back a major, west-coast distributor upgraded their core software system, but it didn’t work as planned. The experience resulted in millions of dollars in lost sales and almost put them out of business. They ended up closing a number of operations and are now operating at half their former size in terms of gross sales. Oops . . .

Tip: Adding a technology should result in a new organizational capability.

A technology should result in becoming better, more efficient, and more capable.

Highest Business Impact

Look at the value to the business, not the cost. Assign resources to the technologies with the greatest impact on the business.

There is no single road map that will work for everyone. That’s because every organization is a little different.

Tip: Technology maturity and its future readiness must be understood.

hype cycles

Hype cycles reflect the over-enthusiasm, or “hype,” and subsequent disappointment that typically follow the introduction of new technologies.

Don’t Wait . . .

Engaging with technology too late can be as bad as engaging too early. All technologies require a learning curve, training, and, to be successful, are about change, in particular, changed behavior.

Tip: If behavior hasn’t changed, then it wasn’t learned. A true learning experience means behavior will be different.

Without making mistakes, there is no learning. Without learning, there is no progress.

Help your staff make progress. Let them know it’s okay to try things out, experiment, and even fail. Things will not work right from the get-go.

Summary

When is the best time to invest in technology to insure your success factors are in place? Which technology should we choose? What is the next thing?

The answers for every organization will vary and may result in more questions. Doing something, however, is far, far better than doing nothing, because once you have taken action you can always learn from what doesn’t work and change direction.

Thank you for reading this.

Wanted: “Geeky” Leaders

Leaders of Tomorrow

Data, Data, Everywhere

Organizations of all sizes literally have mountains of operational data available at their fingertips. One common problem, that just won’t go away, is no one in operations or safety does much or anything with it as they should. Trends are missed and opportunities are foregone.

On November 14th through 15th, the Annual WSJ CEO Council was held to discuss  “trade, education, regulation, energy policy, immigration, national security and other matters directly affecting business.”

One of the speakers at this year’s CEO Council meeting was Andrew McAfee, co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT. McAfee spoke on “The Future of Jobs” and the importance of leadership style in what some now call the Second Industrial Revolution.

Common Themes and Consistent Patterns

McAfee sees five common themes and consistent patterns in “the companies that are creating the future.”

  1. They are bold and not afraid of making big bets.
  2. They move in a series of small, but rapid steps.
  3. Their strategic vision remains, but plans go no further than three to six months.
  4. They are dominated by evidence.
  5. They are open minded.

McAfee says these days the dominant mode for decision making is to rely on what he calls are the HiPPOs–the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.

Should a problem arise, says McAfee, everyone turns to the highest paid person in the room and asks, “Oh, HiPPO, what shall we do?”

McAfee suggests, instead, problems need to be solved by first looking at the preponderance of evidence (the data) and then go where it tells you to go. Then act on this new information. McAfee calls this “Geeky Leadership.”

The traditional method of problem solving–asking the HiPPO for an opinion–may not serve your organization well. A much better alternative is to conduct small scale experiments or pilot programs and find out what works or doesn’t work. Then let the hard evidence and facts be your guide, not a persuasive pitch or personality.

“This is what I see the excellent companies doing–over and over.” Andrew McAfee

McAfee intentionally avoided using the word “technology.” Technology is a given. There are many technological changes occurring all around us. It’s truly mind boggling at times.

For the most part, these changes will be good . . . in the sense they will contribute to a greater rise in the overall standards of living for most people. If your company or career is caught in the cross-hairs of change, your opinion may differ.

To protect your company (and your career), look for ways to take advantage of your available data streams, and always be ready to present this information when needed. You are probably already doing this, but if not, plan on having more data and facts to support whatever you are doing.

Thank you for reading this.

Safety Leadership Starts Here

Leading People Safely

If you are a leader who wants to do things right, Leading People Safely will help you become a better leader. Better yet, if you are a safety consultant, safety manager, work in loss control or risk management, this book will give you a practical framework or model to help setup a cutting-edge safety program.

Fielkow and Schultz’s central thesis is that an organization needs a strong “culture of prevention” to operate safely. “‘Safety’ is not a department.” And it should be not the function of the safety department to assume the responsibilities of management.

Fielkow and Schultz point out that management generally scores itself high on safety leadership—but the front-line workforce would often beg to differ. Leading People Safely presents a number of practical tools to help align perception and reality.

Leading People Safely

The quickest way to clear a room is to mention the words ‘safety’ or ‘leadership.’ The most common excuse is, “Really great ideas, but they won’t work here.” Fielkow and Schultz might retort, “Then try building a safety culture, not a cost culture.” (Chap. 1 & 2) We learn in Chap. 3 there are some things money can’t buy: Culture drives happiness. Culture is based on the 3 Ts: Treatment, Transparency and Trust to ensure employee engagement. To know safety, one must know accountability (Chap. 4), in all its flavors, on an individual level, organizational level, and pee-to-peer level. We’re not talking about compliance (Chap. 5), but overcoming at least 12 common safety challenges under the rubric of ‘Dysfunctional Creep.’ (Chap. 6) That ends Part I of the book. Then it gets better . . .

Part II: How to Build a World-Class Safety Culture

Fielkow and Schultz jump right in with a Case Study (Chap. 7) of a real mess that needed to be cleaned up. Safety, we find, is not a department, but, rather, the responsibility of management. Safety is leader driver (Chap. 8) requires Good Leadership Habits (Chap. 9), execution of your plan (Chap. 10), and a ‘Just Culture’ (Chap. 11) to sustain it. In these days of “Nuclear Verdicts” and over-zealous regulators, learn how to protect yourself and your organization (Chap. 12) while implementing change. Like management, employees, too, must own safety (Chap. 13). Vet and mentor your workforce (Chap. 14) while developing your managers (Chap. 15) It’s all about engagement (Chap. 16-17), even engaging the family. (Chap 18)

We find small safety events and incidents can be a precursor to something major. “Severity is a matter of luck.” (Chap. 19) Always do a Root-Cause Analysis. (Chap. 20). Learn how to build a safety “brand” inside your organization. (Chap. 21) Let employees write their own handbook. (Chap. 22), to help against “Normalization of Deviance,” (Chap. 23) On day one, have them sign a “Culture Contract” (Chap 24), specific to how your culture operates. Take advantage of new safety technologies (Chap. 25)

But any organization can start to wander off course, and when it does, sometimes a “Shock and Awe” move can put it back on track. (Chap. 26). Finally, help your workforce to develop a list of your organization’s Life-Critical Rules (Chap. 27).

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy by one of the authors.

Don’t Gamble

deadly crash

That’s How I Roll

Last week I attended a Risk Management webinar. Management of risk should be a primary consideration in reaching one’s goals, be they business or personal, when the outcome is uncertain.

Not everyone is familiar with nor cares about managing risks. In many instances, by virtue of experience, education and training, they feel comfortable with their planned outcomes, because they are aware of all of the risks involved. Depending on your outcomes, this level of expertise can be gained in a short time, or is the accumulation of a lifetime. In a number of instances having a structured risk management framework serves no purpose. The potential “gain” is too small, or the loss will not be that big. It’s not a matter of life or death.

What happens at the enterprise level is the potential for change. Change is a constant, but the rate of change can vary. In business, an organization can quickly grow. Without constant active management, the risks can grow faster than the organization. Even with active management, risks are always present. A key employee or customer can leave unexpectedly, resulting in a gap that can’t be easily filled. A new technology can result in a boom—or a bust.

One good reminder I gained from the risk management webinar is this: Don’t gamble.

Gambling in transportation is deadly. Gambling can take the from of the driver who does not use G.O.A.L. (Get-Out-And-Look), damaging property or lives. Gambling can take the form of not properly vetting a driver or not waiting for the results of a drug screen, or taking any number of shortcuts. Taking shortcuts, skipping procedures, or taking unnecessary risks will come back to haunt you. When you roll the bones, sooner or later you will turn up a set of snake eyes . . .

Gamblers never win.

There’s no place in transportation or business for gambling.

Thank you for reading this.

Some Key Takeaways from the Labelmaster Dangerous Goods Symposium 11

DGS-11

Hazmat Professionals Need to be Competent

The future standard for hazmat professionals will be competency-based training (CBT).

  • Competency is a set of behaviors built on the components of knowledge, skills, attitudes.
  • Competence is a personal ability in the context of the workplace setting.
  • Competency-based training  refers to a system whereby tasks or competencies are identified to define the content of training. Competency-Based Training may also be known as “Performance-Based Training”, “Criterion-Referenced Training”, “Mastery Learning”, or “Instructional Systems Design”.
  • The steps in competency-based training are: (1) competency identification, (2) determination of competency components and performance levels, (3) competency evaluation, and (4) overall assessment of the process.

See Introduction and Definitions (opens in .PDF) for a basic overview of CBT.

More Hazmat Shipping Changes

Hazmat shippers and carriers should be aware of recent DOT PHMSA updates.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Richard, PhD

  • Relying solely on supplier’s/shipper’s paperwork can lead to problems.
  • Train employees to recognize noncompliant inbound shipments, establish processes for correcting deficiencies, and hold suppliers/shippers accountable.
  • Customize training tailored to employee responsibilities and the products a company ships can be presented in e-learning platforms for more efficient employee training and assessments.
  • There is a Certified Dangerous Goods Professional (CDGP) credential offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM).

Dr. Bob’s DOT Audit Advice:

  • Before inspections happen—Designate staff to interact with inspectors, conduct internal compliance assessments and create a centralized file with copies of commonly requested documents.
  • During an inspection—Ask questions, take notes, invite designated employees to an exit briefing with the inspector, and read the exit briefing before you sign it.
  • After the inspection—Determine broader implications of any violations, make sure problems aren’t repeated, and document your improvements. Also, draft a response to any enforcement action.
  • Stay informed. Automated compliance processes are the best way to make inspections rarer and more manageable.

Fight Back!

“Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The US Department of Transportation doesn’t always distinguish between those who intentionally flout hazmat regulations and those who commit violations without the knowledge that they’ve done anything wrong.” Jerry Cox, Esq. and author of Transportation of Hazardous Materials 2016.

Final Thoughts . . .

Day Three of DGS11 (today) deals with  lithium battery consignments and a general Q&A session.

In a nutshell, if you’re dealing with hazmat (and who isn’t, even inadvertently?), know what you are doing, make sure your employees know what they are doing . . . and be prepared to prove it.

Thank you for reading this and much thanks to Labelmaster and all the presenters in the 11th Annual Dangerous Goods Symposium.

Managing Space = Managing Time

Montreal A40 crash

Trucker attempts to save driver before Highway 40 truck explosion.

Chain Collision

On Aug 10, 2016, Carol Bujold was in a chain collision involving several trucks on an elevated portion of Highway A-40 in Montreal. He immediately went to check on the tanker driver who stuck his truck from behind.

Bujold noticed two things: the driver was trapped inside and the truck was on fire. He got a crowbar from his truck and attempted to pull open the door, cutting his hand.

In a matter of seconds the truck was engulfed and there was nothing more Bujold could do. The tanker driver perished in the inferno. The collision is under investigation, but the incident began with a stopped vehicle in the lane.

The Key to Defensive Driving

The key to defensive driving is in managing time and space. More space gives you more time and more time gives you more space and more options. This is a fundamental rule of safe driving, no matter your age or level of experience.

Basic driving practices are such as those of the Smith System:

  • Aim High In Steering ® — Look further ahead than other drivers
  • Get The Big Picture ® — See more around you than other drivers
  • Keep Your Eyes Moving ® — Be more aware than other drivers
  • Leave Yourself An Out ® — Position better in traffic than other drivers
  • Make Sure They See You ® — Make yourself more visible than other drivers

Here is a video of the aftermath of the Montreal Highway A-40 crash that shows how quickly the vehicle was engulfed.

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING!

A Special Note to New Truck Drivers and Hauling Hazmat

When training new truck drivers, I am always asked if they need their hazmat endorsement?

My answer has always been the same: Get three to five years experience before hauling hazmat.

Why do I say that? For several reasons.

Note in the video above, only one person made an attempt to help the trapped driver. What if several people had fire extinguishers and attempted to aid the driver? Would it have made a difference? Would there have been a few extra seconds to help the driver?

The facts are these: In the event of a hazmat collision, it is likely that no one is obligated to help a truck driver in harm’s way. No one is going to rush in and see if they can help. It doesn’t work that way. It’s not that they don’t care . . . but there are special rules in place at the scene of a hazmat crash.

Secondly, fire and smoke are a big red flag to first responders, hazmat or no hazmat. Years ago I taught driver’s ed. We had a video that talked about “The Rule of Thumb,” when smoke or fire are present at an accident scene. The Rule of Thumb tells first responders (and everyone else) to stay back far enough to literally cover the scene of the accident with your thumb, if you see smoke or fire coming from a vehicle.

So there you have it. There is a reason hazmat is called dangerous goods. Get some experience, a lot of experience, if you decide to haul it, in my opinion.

Thanks for reading this.

 

Texting & Trucking . . . A Deadly Combo

total crash

Why Didn’t You Stop?

Before passing sentence on John Wayne Johnson, who admitted his guilt on nine counts — including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, the judge asked him a question. Why didn’t he stop his tractor trailer?

Johnson had no answer.

In an earlier disposition, Johnson admitted he was texting a woman while driving .

The April 22, 2015 crash resulted in the deaths of five nursing students. Two other students were seriously injured. Johnson slammed into stopped traffic at an estimated 70 MPH on I-16 eastbound near U.S. 280.

Criminal charges against the company were dropped in exchange for a $200,000 payment to a nursing program. Johnson was sentenced to five years.

So far, settlements in this collision have added up to about $80 million.

Buried in a 2014 company Driver Manual, was the following: Use of handheld electronic devices while driving. Absolutely no texting while driving!

Texting is an Industry Problem

While the DOT has huge fines in place for both commercial drivers and motor carriers, some drivers are not getting the message.

“Everybody does it,” said one trucker.

The following recommendations on abating texting come from Lance Evans, Senior Safety & Loss Control Representative at Great West Casualty from an earlier post:

  • Have a Policy and Procedures manual. (Update it, if you haven’t recently.)
  • Signs posted so when a driver leaves the yard they see the company is serious about this issue. “No call, no text, no ticket, no crash.”
  • Stickers in the Tractor that say “It can wait.”
  • Stress the issue in safety meetings.
  • Ask your insurance company about discounts available for having a policy on the use of a hands-free device.
  • Signs on the trailer, “Is our driver texting” or “Is our driver on the phone” 1-800 xxx-xxxx or @company name (twitter).
  • Lastly, reward drivers by showing appreciation for following the Company’s Safety Model.
  • Stress the point that lives matter, one life lost is one to many.

Thank you for reading this. Much thanks to Lance Evans of Great West.

New Protected Left Signal

Left turn

 

Avoiding Intersection Crashes

About 40 percent of crashes are at intersections. To avoid the risk of an intersection crash, safe fleets minimize making left turns. It doesn’t matter how much experience a driver has. It doesn’t matter how much training a driver has. Making a left turn, like backing, always has an element of inherent risk. So major fleets (like UPS and others) have a policy against both, if possible.

The risk in making a left turn comes from missing visual cues or in mistiming the turn. Sometimes oncoming vehicles can visually blend in with the background. Sometimes pedestrians, wheelchairs, or bicycles are hard to spot in the crosswalk. Slowing for a pedestrian in a left turn can result in a commercial truck blocking the path of an on-coming vehicle and lead to a greater risk of collision.

Some intersections are big and complicated. Some cities like Memphis, TN or Broken Arrow, OK, are now in the process of adding the next generation of traffic signals.  The new signals allow protected and permissive left turns from dedicated left-turn lanes.

The Flashing Yellow Arrow Left-Turn Signal

The new left turn traffic signal head includes the standard Red, Yellow and Green arrows which have been used for years, along with an additional “flashing yellow arrow”.
protected left turn

If the signal is a…
Red Arrow Stop. Left turn is not permitted.
Green Arrow It is safe to turn left. Oncoming traffic must stop.
Flashing Yellow Arrow Left turn is permitted, but driver must yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
Steady Yellow Arrow Driver must prepare to stop as arrow is about to turn red.

The biggest difference in the new signals is between the yellow arrows. A steady yellow arrow is like an ordinary yellow light, you must stop, if it is safe to do so, as the arrow will soon go red. The flashing yellow arrow permits a left turn, after yielding to traffic or any pedestrians.

Like any intersection, always be ready to yield the right of way, even on a green.

Thank you for reading this.

 

 

 

“You’re Letting This Man Still Drive a Truck?”

Danny_Clyde_Burnam

Unstoppable

Nothing was going to stop him. The bobtail truck driver hit a car at an intersection. An off-duty policeman, noticing the erratic driving, tried to stop the driver. But for some reason he wouldn’t stop, even driving under a 12 foot bridge.

The driver, Danny Clyde Burnam, 57, did not stop at a police barricade, drawing fire from police.  At least one police round struck Burnam. Burnam then sped up, doing 60 MPH in a posted 25 MPH speed zone.

Burnam did stop after striking about a dozen vehicles, finally colliding head-on with a car with three young men inside, driving it into a building, and fatally injuring Jeffrey Oakley. Another occupant was seriously injured.

After Burnam was arrested, a police check revealed Burnam was no stranger to the law. His record showed dozens of arrests, many involving drugs and alcohol, and a number of felony convictions, including domestic violence and battery.

The name Burnam, it turns out, was another alias used by Danny Clyde Williams, who had eight social security cards at the time of his arrest.

“It’s unbelievable how somebody has a record of 55 charges and you’re letting this man still drive a truck. I can’t even process that right now.” Mother of one of the victims.

What Happened?

How does a bad player like this fall through the cracks? Who dropped the ball? Why does this happen? Did the trucking company follow the rules and regs?

Finding driving talent is difficult. Some say it’s the job. Some say it’s the pay.

Most truck drivers with at least five years of experience, however, love the job. Truck driving takes skill and acquiring any skill is the product of hard work. An increase in skill in any job is usually followed by an increase in pay. Trucking is no exception. Generally, the longer one successfully works in trucking, the more money one makes. This means keeping a clean driving record, no tickets, no collisions.

Most truck drivers . . . are average. The average driver can have a less-than-perfect driving record and may have been involved a collision or two in the past.

The sub-average driver may have had a number of tickets or was involved in several collisions. These usually get the attention of insurance underwriters, on a case-by-case basis.

Danny Clyde Williams or whatever his name really is, falls into a different category. He is a high-risk driver. The whole purpose of CSA 2010 (now simply CSA) was to identify and monitor the high-risk driver . . . if you recall.

Our whole driver-licensing system is based on the honor code, that implies drivers will honestly represent their history and driving record. The problem is, if a driver is willing to snub his nose in the face of the DOT rule book, cheat, or lie, then there’s not much any government agency can do.

The last line-of-defense is the motor carrier. Every carrier has their own system to vet new drivers. In most cases, their vetting system works. Most carriers have sufficient controls in place to catch any sub-average drivers.

In-house hiring systems can fail, when faced with hiring a high-risk driver who will employ fraudulent means to secure employment. Identifying these drivers is difficult because they are willing to lie and are good at covering their tracks.

Rogue driver

Driver to shipper, “Ain’t no little girl going to tell me how to back my truck.”
It’s all in the attitude . . .

rogue driver

Even after getting towed, the rogue driver left the parking lot by driving out over the curb . . .

Vetting the Driver

To avoid hiring or retaining the high-risk driver:

  • Use a professional background checking service when hiring. I’m always impressed as a loss control rep, when a small organization invests in these type of vetting services. They are not cheap, but neither is a bad hire . . .
  • Pay attention to the driver’s employment history. Try to talk to every previous supervisor, if possible.
  • Look for employment gaps. Is the driver hiding a job in which he was terminated for good cause?
  • Everyday is probation. Usually a string of safety incidents is telling you something about this driver. Investigate every safety incident or collision, especially if not reported by the driver.
  • Don’t skip anything. Do your required background checks. Road test the driver. Find out as much as you can about this person. Fill out all required DOT paperwork, from A-to-Z.
  • Finally, trust your instincts. If you see red flags, pick up bad vibes, or a bad attitude, get someone else’s opinion on whether or not the driver is a good candidate for your company.

Thank you for reading this.

Mindful . . . or Mindless Driving?

collide

Driving on Autopilot

You probably have heard the stories . . .  Drivers not remembering a thing on how they arrived in another city or state.  Or driving several times in the loop around Indianapolis in a mental haze, after missing their exit . . .

Psychologist Dr Ellen Langer calls this state “mindlessness,” a kind of autopilot. Langer believes mindlessness can be a learned behavior. Mindlessness is also stress inducing.

How so?

First, there is a confusion in being mindful—the opposite of mindlessness—with being stressed, according to Langer. Stress is when you feel “stuck in a rut,” says Langer, while mindfulness is how you feel when at play.

Secondly, stress can come from certainty. You expect something to happen, you are certain it will happen . . . and it doesn’t happen. It could be a vehicle signalling to the right—then swerving to the left in front of you. It could be traffic coming to an unexpected stop, etc.

If we feel really stressed about a situation, this ‘stressor’ can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, resulting in adrenaline and cortisol to surge throughout the body.

The key is not to try to avoid stressful situations. The key is to be more mindful, to redirect our thoughts, to quiet our minds and the stress response.

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness, as I study it, is a simple process of noticing new things.” Dr Ellen Langer

Mindfulness results in not only less stress, but higher levels of productivity and even creativity.  As an added bonus—you not only feel better, but younger.

Mindfulness, in essence, is just mind training.  Maria Gonzalez, MBA, Mindful Leadership

Mindfulness means to be aware and to live in the present.

Where are we, if we are not “here and now,” in the present moment?

If we’re not being mindful of the present, we are either remembering something (the past) or engaging in fantasy (the future). In driving, this can be dangerous.

Some of my worse driving experiences have occurred when I did not practice mindful driving, including almost running the same red light two nights in a row, and pulling out into oncoming traffic. Not good. The funny thing is . . . I can’t recall now what was so important that I risked my own life and the lives of others.

Another time, in a rush to catch a plane to a safety conference, I nicked my front bumper backing out of the parking stall. Looking back, it was pure mindlessness . . .

Practicing Mindfulness In Driving

• Acknowledge the intention that you will practice mindful driving at the start of the trip.

• As you drive, be alert of three things:

  • What you see: Are you watching the road, the mirrors, the instruments?
  • What you hear: Are you listening to the sounds of the road? The vehicle? (Mindful Driving)
  • Yourself: Are you staying alert? Are you tired or bored?

For most of us, our mind will tend to wander after driving for a while, unless we make an effort to rein it in. We want to ponder on past difficulties or future challenges, and focus less and less on driving.

Mindfulness and mindful driving are not a set of skills that can be learned in a session or two, but take time to incorporate into our daily driving routine. Make the self-investment in being more mindful in everything you do.

Thank you for reading this.

Shock Loss

shock loss

A Nightmare Scenario

It’s every trucking company’s worst nightmare. Bad crash. Your truck. Your name on the side of the truck.

It’s every insurance company’s worst nightmare as well. A loss of life. Loss of property. Multiple vehicles. A shock loss . . .

Nobody can really predict a bad crash. They are really ‘statistical anomalies’ or abnormalities. Outliers. Nobody can really plan for them or predict them.

There is a reason they are called shock losses. They are life-changing events that will always be remembered by those whose lives were touched by these tragic events . . . from the victims, to the first responders to the hospital personnel.

Jamison Pals family

One such crash happened this weekend on I-80, that resulted in the loss of five lives . . .

 

 

 

 

Perhaps a crash of this magnitude is a lagging indicator that more work needs to be done by truck-driver training schools, motor carriers and the risk engineering departments of insurance companies.

Perhaps better technology will provide a partial answer.

I’m personally in favor of higher standards. Higher standards  means to me having better driver training—to keep the vehicle under control at all times.  Higher standards means better driver vetting and monitoring. Higher standards means constant communications on safety. Higher standards means more work and better coordination of safety efforts.

About 80% of motor carriers simply do not get it, in my opinion. They are not willing to do the work, are indifferent, or don’t care . . .

Same for the insurance carriers with the weak or non-existent loss-control sections and aggressive underwriters. There is no better way to put yourself out of business then with a series of shock losses . . .

Let’s work to achieve industry-wide higher safety standards to reduce these major crashes.

A Tip For Better Safety Performance

It’s true. Safety is not one or two things. Safety in trucking means doing a number of things right, consistently and repetitively, day in and day out.

Many times we rely on others to provide us with the safety tools. Many drivers are also left to their own devices when it comes to better safety performance.

One way to increase performance is to ‘self-program’ your mind by means of self-talk or self-instruction.

This isn’t a voodoo mind control technique. This is a proven way, based on sports psychology, to increase performance.

Self-talk can consist of simple, affirmative statements:

  • I want to be safe.
  • I will drive accident free today.
  • I will focus on driving.

Self-talk can increase motivation, but should not be used to focus on a specific goal (“I will drive at least 600 miles in the next 11 hours”).

It would be most helpful to use a coach to implement a company-wide self-talk program.

Thank you for reading this.