Dirty Diesel

Dirty Diesel
Dirty Diesel

Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxides, are fueling the pace of climate change legislation around the world. Those efforts in the U.S. continue to heat up and right now, the trucking industry is directly in the cross hairs.
California is aggressively targeting greenhouse gas emissions from all sources throughout the state, and at the moment the trucking industry’s primary fuel source, diesel, is being labeled “Dirty”.

Senate Bill 44, also known as the Ditching Dirty Diesel bill, is designed to phase out the use of diesel-fueled medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses in the state over the next three decades. The bill would mandate that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) come up with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in commercial trucks by 40% in 2030 and 80% by 2050. The bill also requires CARB to develop their strategy for targeted trucks by Jan. 1, 2021. The proposed legislation has far reaching consequences that would include trucks entering California from other states.

The state of Oregon has initiated similar legislation (HB2007) which declares an emergency related to diesel emissions. The bill would require the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt federal diesel engine emission standards for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. It would also require truck owners entering into the state to maintain evidence that their engines meet those standards. Taking it a step further, HB2007 would also require certain public improvement contracts to require the use of 2010 model year or newer diesel engines in performance of the contract. The bill would be effective January 1, 2020. But wait, Oregon is not done yet. The state is doubling down on their emergency declaration by simultaneously introducing a greenhouse gas cap and trade program as a compliance mechanism. That legislation would take effect January 1, 2021.

On the other side of the country, a coalition of nine states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.) announced their intent to design a low-carbon transportation policy proposal. The proposal would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into the transportation infrastructure. It also sets a goal of completing the policy design process within one year, after which each jurisdiction will decide whether to adopt and implement the policy.

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!

Cummins unveils electric truck ahead of TESLA’s November reveal date

Cummins AEOS Electric Truck

Aug. 29, 2017 — Indiana based Cummins, Inc., a leading maker of engines and engine components has unveiled an all-electric, 18,000 lb, Class 7 semi truck called AEOS. AEOS with its 100-mile range and 20-ton payload capacity is designed for local hauling. It is equipped with a 140 kWh battery pack that — at present — takes an hour to charge. However, Cummins says that by 2020, improvements in battery technologies are expected to reduce that time to 20 minutes. Additionally, technologies such as regenerative braking and the potential for solar panels on the trailer roof can extend its range by sending energy to the battery pack. Along with the expertise of Roush Industries, AEOS is expected to be ready for market by 2019.

In August of 2016, electric car maker Tesla said it expected to unveil an electric semi-truck in the following six to nine months and then enter production in less than five years. Most recently, the company has set a November 16 date for the unveiling and test ride of that truck in Hawthorne, CA.

In his “Master Plan” released last year, CEO Elon Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate”. Along with the tentative October date, Musk tweeted “Worth seeing this beast in person. It’s unreal.

Unreal is just what a pair of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe. In a paper they wrote, the two found that the heavy-duty truck that Musk is looking to produce would need a 14 ton battery for 600 miles of non-stop driving at a cost exceeding $250,000. Taking into account the limits on truck weights and the room needed for the battery, cargo capacity would be reduced by one third. Compounding the problem would be the lack of infrastructure and regeneration times. However, the researches did agree that a next generation “beyond lithium battery pack” could produce a 600-900 mile range and increased cargo capacity, but that 300 to 350 miles is probably the limit of what the vehicle could be designed for with current technology.

Climate change is a big driver of aggressive electrified technologies with China and California leading the way. If it were up to California Governor Jerry Brown, the success of these two companies couldn’t come sooner. According to Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the Governor has expressed serious interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines. A ban on sales would help both company’s interests and would assist the state in meeting its aggressive 2050 emissions target of an 80% reduction. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Nichols stated.

It appears that electrification has some serious business allies in a very large market. Electric vehicles around the world are increasing rapidly and electric trucks… well they’re gaining momentum and are here for the short haul, but how long before engineers find a way to build a better battery for the long haul? Stay tuned!

International Roadcheck June 6-8, 2017

CVSA Puts Special Emphasis on Cargo Securement

Mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2017. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 30th annual International Roadcheck will take place during those three days. International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world covering Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Over the 72-hour period, CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors Throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is cargo securement. While checking for compliance with safe cargo securement regulations is always part of roadside inspections, CVSA is highlighting cargo securement safety this year as a reminder of its importance to highway safety.

According to the CVSA, damaged or defective tiedowns, loose or unfastened tiedowns, and not having the required number of tie-downs are the most common violations. Drivers need to take specific care in calculating the weight of the cargo plus any length requirements when determining the correct number of tiedowns required.

TIP: unmarked or illegible markings on tiedowns may cause an inspector to error on the side of caution and downgrade your tiedown and its Working Load Limit (WLL) which could cause you to be cited.

Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough roadside inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Drivers are required to provide items such as their driver’s license, hours-of-service documentation, motor carrier registration and shipping documentation, and inspectors will be checking drivers for seat belt usage and the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices (required lamps), steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers, and emergency exits (on buses). Learn more at cvsa.org.

America’s Aging Infrastructure

Aging Infrastructure

The U.S. has a failing infrastructure and we have to find a way to pay to upgrade it now. That was the reoccurring message delivered during a recent Senate hearing on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America.

According to the Senate panel and those testifying before the panel, underdeveloped ports, failing locks, constrained rail, crumbling bridges, congested roads and insufficient waterways are all part of an aging U.S. infrastructure that is straining to meet the demands of the 21st century population and commerce. Testifying before the panel, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka provided an estimate that the U.S. infrastructure deficit is approaching $4 trillion.

Five experts representing different areas of the U.S. economy were on-hand to opine on the state of the country’s network of movement and industry. During the hearing there were suggestions on how to relieve stress and congestion throughout the network, but in no way did anyone suggest that stress relievers would fix the underlying and costly need for maintenance and upgrade. Conversely, David MacLennan, CEO of Cargil (representing food and agriculture) stated that the consequences of inaction will have a rippling effect all the way up the supply chain. MacLennan made specific reference to the devastating effect on corn prices paid to farmers following hurricane Katrina in 2005 that represented $3 billion in lost market value.

Like a broken record from previous hearings, the consensus was that the country’s infrastructure is deficient, but funding the effort to fix it remains elusive. The favored method of payment discussed during the hearing was an increase in the federal fuel tax indexed for inflation and a user fee to address those that are less reliant on fuel but no less reliant on the system. Fedex CEO, Frederick Smith stated “the entire country is moving away from internal combustion engines” making the current fuel tax insufficient. Additionally, he suggested the use of RFID modules on vehicles to track distance traveled as a way to calculate the user fee.

As part of his first 100 days in office, President Trump has pledged to fill the $1 trillion gap noted by the National Association of Manufacturers as improvements needed to our transportation systems over the next 10 years. We can only hope that not only will this happen within that time, but it will happen in an manner that brings the country together. That would be Huge.

New CCIA Gear

Our 2017 shirt design features America’s “Mother Road” Historic Route 66.
New CCIA Gear

Our new design is set on 100% preshrunk cotton in American royal blue. The shirt design showcases American strength, ingenuity and pride starting with the symbolic Bald eagle clasping onto California’s Route 66 highway sign. The trucking industry, a key component to the prosperity of American businesses is featured with an 18-wheeler in silhouette along the road with the sun shinning brightly in the background. The term “Mother Road” is draped across the top of the design on a colonial-aged scroll adding a much needed feeling of maturity and patriotism. To add a little flare and to leave no doubt about the message, “HISTORIC ROUTE” was drawn in a vintage font and prominently place in the center of the design. Stars complete the image by surrounding the artwork and compounding the American theme.

Route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926 and was completely paved by 1938. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

The new highway brought life and economic prosperity to those communities along its path and would eventually lead to the construction of the U.S. Highway System. The trucking industry compounded that prosperity and would eventually form the backbone of the U.S. economy.

The decline of Route 66 began in late 1950’s with the signing of the Interstate Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985.

New CCIA Gear!

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 “keeping it moving”. The title of the shirt is “Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'”. The design is a play on the large and numerous wheels found on a commercial truck and the long and winding roads that they travel on. We hope you enjoy it!

Every year, the CCIA team produces a different shirt design and distributes them to each of its clients. We’d love to know what you think about the shirts and are open to ideas for next year’s design.Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

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.

Speed limiters on the horizon

Are government agencies relying on sound data?

It is rumored that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration along with the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration will resubmit a proposal later this fall mandating speed limiters on large trucks set at 68 mph. In March, the agencies’ attempt at submitting a notice of proposed rulemaking was returned by the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. The agencies were expected to resubmit a revamped proposal by July, but are now rumored to be working towards a late November submission.

A 2012 DOT report indicates that trucks equipped with speed limiters had a significantly lower speed limiter-relevant crash rate (approximately 50%) compared to trucks without speed limiters. The report also states that the cost of the technology is negligible and would not be cost-prohibitive for fleets/owners. That report is now being called into question as the latest complete statistics for year 2011 tell a different story. As summarized by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the report does show that speeding-related factors were the most common cited in fatality or injury crashes that involved large trucks. However, “speeding-related” is a catch-all category that when broken down shows that 82% of fatal crashes involving a large truck occurred on roads with posted speed limits at or less than 65 mph. When the NHTSA was asked “How many of the trucks involved in those fatal crashes were equipped with an activated speed limiter?” The response was “The agency does not have crash data related to activated speed limiters in our databases,”

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.