New CCIA Gear!

Trucking t-shirt

Have you received your new CCIA t-shirt yet?

The CCIA team came up with a new design this year that highlights the theme of the nation’s supply chain. The title of the shirt is “Strongest Link In The Supply Chain”. The tri-tone design shows a class 8 tractor emerging from the center of a black shirt surrounded by chains. The tractor is adorned with wings symbolizing the free movement of goods that are carried throughout the nation.  We hope you enjoy it!

Every year, the CCIA team produces a different shirt design and distributes them to its clients. These are typically sent in XL, contact your agent for a different size. We’d love to know what you think about the shirts and are open to ideas for next year’s design.

Trying to get a good night’s sleep

sleep1In the trucking industry where there is a need for long periods of acute mental awareness during long stretches of physical inactivity, quality sleep is vitally important. From time to time we hear of incidents where sleep was related to a crash and we must not glaze over the seriousness of proper rest.

Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, although some need more or less sleep to be adequately rested. And when you have not gotten the right amount for your body, “oh boy” does it let you know. Well, sorry to say that there isn’t much that can take the place of a good night’s sleep to keep you alert. So, let’s first discuss what a good night’s sleep is and along the way talk about things to keep your alert level as high as possible while you’re awake.

Located in the brain is your body’s biological clock that tells it when it’s time to sleep and when to be awake. Your clock runs on a 24 hour cycle and regulates body temperature, alertness and the daily hormone cycles which stimulate cells into action. Disruption to any of the phases of the clock can cause physical and mental-related issues.

There are two main types of sleep, rapid-eye-movement (REM), and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM). In most adults, sleep begins with the NREM phase. NREM sleep has three main stages. NREM begins with the 1st stage of gently dozing off until reaching the 3rd stage which is the “couldn’t wake you up with a bullhorn” stage of the NREM phase. In the progression from stage 1 to stage 3, brain waves slow and become more synchronized, and the eyes remain still. In the 3rd stage, the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, blood pressure and body temperature drop and muscles relax. The 3rd stage is where scientists believe physical and mental recuperation occur like protein building and hormone release. The NREM phase then reverses stages to a more awake stage 2 then stage 1 at which point the REM phase begins.

During REM sleep (aka “active sleep” state), muscles in the arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed, the slow brain wave sleep of NREM quickens as does your heart beat and breathing. The blood pressure rises and the eyes move around in all directions. Scientists believe these eye movements are related to dreams. REM can last from 5 to 30 minutes. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate throughout the night with the length of NREM stage 3 declining during each cycle. The average length of the NREM-REM sleep cycles are between 70 and 120 minutes.
Many of us have awake times that do not match our internal sleep clock which wants to be awake during the day and asleep at night. For those that do, you’ll have to work extra hard to get the sleep your body needs.

There are a lot of factors that affect the quality and quantity of sleep which include stress, what we eat and drink, medical conditions and the medications we take, the environment in which we sleep and the times at which we finally get to sleep. Any one of these can disrupt the depth of sleep we need so badly.

STRESS: Stress can stimulate an arousal response making restful sleep more difficult to achieve. Search out ways to help decompress e.g., exercise, yoga, music, deep breathing techniques, etc.

ALCOHOL: Alcohol can cause a person to fall asleep more quickly, but the quality of sleep will be compromised. Ingesting alcohol before bedtime has shown to cause increased awakenings due to the arousal effect the alcohol has as it is metabolized throughout the night.

CAFFEINE: A chemical called adenosine, which naturally builds in the brain during awake times is believed to inhibit brain cells that promote alertness. Hence, the longer we’re awake, the more sleepy we become. Interestingly, caffeine works to block the adenosine receptors of the brain allowing nerve cells to maintain activity. However, the more caffeine we ingest the longer it will take for the affects to wear off which can interfere with sleep cycles.

LIGHT: Exposure to light in the evening tends to delay the phase of our internal clock and leads us to prefer later sleep times. Bright light bulbs and electronic devices are common examples and should be minimized before bedtime.

PAIN: Pain and discomfort limit the depth of sleep we get. Those with chronic and acute pain should limit caffeine and alcohol consumption and practice stress reliving techniques. Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills, while effective, should only be used under the supervision of a physician.

DRUGS: Many medications contain alpha and beta blockers used to control heart rhythms and reduce blood pressure both of which affect sleep. Talk to your doctor about the affects they may cause.

SLEEP ENVIRONMENT: Increase your chances of better sleep by controlling your sleep environment. 1) Use no/low lighting such as nightlights to minimize the effects on the internal clock; 2) Reduce noise that can prevent transitions to the deeper stages of sleep, and; 3) Maintain a comfortable temperature to avoid disruptive sleep; 4) Invest in quality bedding.

Driving without the proper amount of quality sleep makes it harder to pay attention to the road and dramatically impacts your reactions. Signs of drowsy driving are trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last stretch of road that you just drove, yawning constantly, bobbing your head, and drifting from your lane. If this starts to happen while you’re driving, find a safe place to pull over and take a quick nap or stretch, breath deeply and take a short walk, or buy a cup of caffeinated coffee to help keep you alert. STAY SAFE AND GET SOME REST!

Port collisions among truckers are on the rise

portImage

 

Crashes at the ports are becoming an all too common occurrence as truckers line
up at terminal gates and jockey for position to get in and get out as painlessly as
possible.

At the port, traffic control is often an oxymoron. There can be trucks entering and exiting the gates from all different directions with line stalkers looking for the opportunity to cut in on truckers who leave room and/or attempt not to block onstreet traffic lanes. With inflamed tensions, trucks bottleneck at the gates. There is obvious work to be done for the ports and truckers to come together to keep tensions in check and the traffic flowing as smoothly as possible.

Be aware that in those instances when trucks are too close together and tensions
are heightened, collisions are occurring at an increased rate – it is a very frustrating
situation for all involved. On the insurance side, the ports aren’t allowing claims
professionals entrance inside the terminal gates to perform investigations. Truckers
need to understand that because of this, it becomes a “he said”, “she said”
scenario. And, if the other guy has photo evidence and/or witnesses to corroborate
his claim, the preponderance of evidence can favor the other guy. Our claims
professionals need you to be aware of this situation and be prepared to take photos
of the accident scene. Take wide (panoramic) shots as well as closeups, and if
you can, get names and numbers of any witnesses. Notable is that we have had
instances where a trucker who hit one of our guys produced witnesses that (while
they were at the port) were not at the collision site at the time of the collision. It was
only through photographic evidence that we were able to discredit those witnesses.

While the ports around the country are making efforts to smooth the flow of traffic
through appointments, extended gate hours and other efficiencies it is still the
responsibility of truck drivers to operate safely. And, if/when you have a collision
preserve the scene as best as you can through photos/video and get names and
numbers of any witnesses.

These simple actions will go a long way towards defending your liability and
protecting your safety record and loss ratio.

Underride Guards Fail Critical 30% Test

Trailer underride guards, while improved, did not pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) critical 30% test. According to the IIHS, trailer underride guards on modern trailers do a pretty good job at keeping vehicles from sliding underneath them, but primarily when the crash occurs directly behind the trailer. IIHS tests show that when a vehicle strikes a portion of the trailer (overlap), most trailers fail to prevent potentially deadly underrides.

In a IIHS study of 115 crashes in which a passenger vehicle struck the back of a heavy truck or semitrailer, results showed that 80% were underrides. Of those crashes involving underride, 82% were fatalities; about half of those with severe underride had overlaps of 50% or less.

IIHS engineers most recently crash-tested trailers from eight of the largest manufacturers. In each test, a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu struck a parked tractor-trailer at 35 mph. When the car was aimed at the center of the trailer, all successfully prevented the underride.  When the mid-point of the car struck the trailer edge, only one guard failed to prevent the underride.  However, when the portion of the vehicle striking the trailer was reduced to 30%, all but one failed. The 30% overlap is used by the IIHS for testing because it is the minimum overlap under which a passenger vehicle occupant’s head is likely to strike a trailer in an underride guard failure. It is important to note that in successful tests where the guards held up, the Malibu’s structure and airbags protected the dummy.
Earlier test results from the IIHS showed that the size and strength of the guards were inadequate  leading the IIHS to petition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2011 for tougher standards. In that set of tests, IIHS engineers crash-tested trailers from three manufacturers (Hyundai, Vangard and Wabash). The Hyundai trailer failed all tests. Vangard failed the 50% and 30% tests while the Wabash trailer failed the 30% test.

Since 2007, under Canadian regulation, a guard must withstand about twice as much force at the point where it attaches to its vertical support compared to the U.S. rule. It’s encouraging to note that while NHTSA has not issued any additional requirements on trailer underride guards, trailer manufacturers have responded to the IIHS results by installing guards that are much stronger than required. All eight manufacturers now have underride guards meeting the Canadian standard, and none of the current designs had any difficulty passing the full-width test.

According to the IIHS, the location of the guards’ vertical supports appears to be a problem. As the supports are attached to the slider rails which allows the position of the wheels to change depending on the load, the vertical supports are located an average of 28 inches from the trailer’s edge. Manac, a Canadian manufacturer and the only one to pass the 30% test, attaches its guards to a reinforced floor and spaced just 18 inches from the edge.