The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), of which the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is a member, will be conducting a roadside inspection blitz for commercial vehicles from June 4-6 across North America. It’s a 72-hour event involving motor vehicle inspection jurisdictions across the US, Canada and Mexico to promote road safety.
While a multi-day inspection blitz may sound intimidating, the inspections themselves will be the same ones you might receive 365 days a year. Most trucks will receive a North American Standard Level I Inspection (though inspectors might choose to do other inspections based on initial assessment) that usually takes about 45 minutes. You will also be required to show the inspectors the following:
If no critical issues are discovered during the inspection, you will receive a CVSA decal for your truck indicating that the vehicle successfully passed inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector. If an inspector does identify a critical vehicle issue, they can render vehicle out of service. Likewise, a driver can be declared out of service if they show signs of fatigue or impairment or have problems with their paperwork or credentials. Depending on the severity of the infraction, failing inspection can even negatively affect your company’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.
International Roadcheck has been held every year since 1988 and is the largest commercial motor vehicle compliance operation in the world. During this 72-hour period about 17 trucks and buses will be inspected every minute. As with any day you hit the road, be sure your vehicle, logs and credentials are in good order, and June 4-7 should be like any other days on the road.
If you’re a truck driver looking for a unique career opportunity, you might consider becoming an owner-operator. Owner-operators typically enjoy great flexibility, compensation, and job security. In fact, it’s how many of the top trucking companies today were born. One driver, one truck and a lot of hard work can transform into a fleet of trucks and a team of drivers. With the constant demand for drivers within the transportation industry, 2019 is flourishing with opportunities for driving professionals interested in working for themselves, and Dillon Logistics is happy to announce they are expanding to include O/O.
Check out some of the following benefits of being an owner-operator.
Does the idea of self-employment spark interest? Owner-operators get to lay the groundwork for their own business. As an owner-operator, you can do everything from establishing what kind of money you want to make by giving yourself more flexible hours to outfitting your tractor with decals and colors. Although there are more risks and responsibilities tied to being an owner-operator, ask any business owner and they’ll tell you there are numerous benefits of self-employment.
You keep the profits
We know you know that operating a tractor-trailer properly and efficiently requires expert skill and care, and an experienced, talented driver saves their company real money in diesel and maintenance costs. If you’re better than average driver, as an Owner Operator you’ll pocket more of the fuel surcharge and spend less to maintain your tractor.
The demand is there
The most recent Truckstop.com Market Demand Index from February 2019 indicates there are about 30 loads posted for every available truck posted. The American Transportation Research Institute’s 2018 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report lists the driver shortage and driver retention as the first and third most critical issues, respectively. Thus, being an owner-operator means that you’ll have the flexibility to easily go where the demand is highest to maximize your profits. At Dillon, we offer 100% of the fuel surcharge, a $3,000 sign on bonus and a wide variety of lanes so you can get home more often.
Own your own business
Manning your own small business is a lot of responsibility and hard work, but the rewards are endless. It’s not just for an elite club, either. There are over 30 million small businesses in the US alone that employ almost half of the workforce, and many of these businesses aren’t just surviving, they’re thriving. So, if you like the idea of building a business you can be proud of, something you could even pass on to your kids one day, give us a call at 863.225.4144 to learn how Dillon Logistics can be the first and best partnership of your new business.
If you’ve been on the road long enough, you are sure to have noticed the diamond-shaped labels on the back and sides of semi-trucks and trailers. These helpful signs are called hazmat placards and they are used to communicate what kind of hazardous materials trucks are hauling. The US Department of Transportation requires vehicles hauling over 1,000 pounds of hazmat to display them on all sides of their vehicle letting everyone know, including first responders, what’s inside so they know how to handle it safely.
The signs not only tell if something is flammable, explosive, radioactive, poisonous, biohazardous, or corrosive but also give details about what specific chemicals make up the material, and the dangers it poses. The color of the sign is the most noticeable detail from far away and communicates the basics about what kind of threat the cargo on board can pose. Here are some of the placard colors and the characteristics they convey:
As you get closer to the hazmat placards you can make out symbols (that are self-explanatory) and class numbers in the bottom corner of the diamond. Each class number indicates a specific characteristic of the material and can go further with subclasses (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, etc.) to explain how that material might react.
Knowing what type of material you are dealing with and how it might react is vital in hazmat transportation, however, hazmat placards have an additional detail that specifies even more about what’s inside called the United Nations ID (UN ID) number. This four-digit number, ranging from 0004-3534, is another way to communicate hazard and will often specify what exact chemical is being hauled. To give some examples UN 1202 means diesel fuel, UN 1072 means compressed oxygen, and UN 3066 indicates paint or paint related material. Unlike color, symbols and class numbers, you might need a reference to know what the number means but they can be very useful to understand how to handle it properly or to contain the substance if something were to go wrong.
Some hazmat doesn’t have a UN ID number and is assigned North American (NA) numbers by the US DOT. UN/NA numbers can be found in the middle of a hazmat placard.
Before booking a shipment
At Dillon Logistics, we believe all accidents and injuries are preventable. Our commitment is a ZERO accident rate. If you are booking a hazmat shipment with Dillon, it’s important to let us know what exactly is being hauled, any special requirements it may have in being moved, assembled or disassembled, and its hazard class (as detailed above). The safety of drivers, first responders, terminal staff, and even the general public depends on properly labeling hazmat.
In an industry where safety is key all year around, it’s even more pertinent to be extra cautious during frigid months. Extreme weather can make any road unpredictable and challenge any driver’s capabilities. Sometimes staying safe simply means brushing up on a few reminders. Freshen up on some of these tips we curated from various industry news outlets.
First. Check your truck. Tanks and trailers that are in tip-top shape offer better odds for safer performance. Before you depart to your destination, double-check the necessities, like tire pressure, engine oil, antifreeze levels, windshield wipers, washer fluid, mirror adjustments, etc., to verify everything is working and that your ride is ready for harsh weather.
Before leaving a terminal or customer, make sure to always dislodge snow from your windshield and windows, hood, roof, trunk and lights. This may be a given, but it’s crucial that your vision is never impaired while driving. Because we take safety seriously at Dillon Logistics, we’d rather you take a few extra minutes to clear your view than put yourself at risk of danger.
Once you are out on the road, the safest precaution you can take is to slow your speed and make some space. It’s the hustle and bustle that often instigates dangerous and even life-threatening accidents, especially during winter. Because traction on icy roads is poor, staying at a safe distance from other vehicles and maintaining safe speeds not only gives a buffer for breaking, but it also offers more time to react if something does go awry.
“Do you know that the stopping distance on a wet road is twice the normal stopping distance? And on icy roads, it’s almost 10 times,” an article from GPSTrackit online said.
Also, recognize that with frozen conditions comes thin layers of transparent ice known as black ice. Deceptively similar to water, black ice is transparent and easy to miss. According to an article by Ryder Fleet Products, the best way to pinpoint black ice is to look at your truck and surrounding terrain. If ice begins to build on the outside mirror arms, the antenna, or top corners of the wind-shield, it’s possible there is black ice on the road. If water spray from vehicles tires in front of you suddenly stops, it could mean there are ice patches on the road.
What happens if, after taking all these safeguards you still find yourself skidding? Firstly, be calm and try not to overreact, as that could make the slipping worse. Next...
1) keep the steering wheel straight
2) slowly take your foot off the gas pedal but do not hit the brake
3) shift into neutral
4) steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go
5) once your truck starts to straighten out, shift back into drive and slowly press the gas.
At Dillon Logistics, we aren’t just about serious drivers and serious hauling. We are serious about safety. As a result, we are personally committed to living a culture of safety and providing the best workspace and equipment to protect each other. If you have any questions about how to drive through cold conditions, please contact our safety department at 813-853-4864.
Serious drivers. serious hauling.
A personal hub dedicated to our entire Dillon Logistics team for staying up-to-date on all things trucking related. Get a monthly dose of inspiration on how to up your serious-hauling game and have first-hand access to resources and the latest happenings out on the road.