Driving a truck or bus is, needless to say, a huge responsibility. But just how big of a responsibility is it? For one thing, there are numerous factors that create safety challenges for truck and bus drivers. Here are some of the main ones that operators of those commercial vehicles have to navigate every time they get on the road.
The Safety Measurement System (SMS), a branch of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), identifies and intervenes with drivers who have demonstrated unsafe driving behavior. It uses seven distinct categories, known as BASICs, to identify, categorize, and rank drivers to prioritize for intervention. BASIC stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories and includes the following categories:
- Unsafe driving
- Crash indicator
- Hours of service compliance
- Vehicle maintenance
- Controlled substances and alcohol
- Hazardous materials compliance
- Driver fitness
One common question from truckers who have not yet obtained their operating authority (MC number) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is whether they can still lease their services to a for-hire carrier that has operating rights. According to Section 376.11, the answer is yes as long as the trucker meets all FMCSA requirements.
You’ve done everything right – your drivers are experienced, careful and well-trained, your trucks are well-maintained and up-to-date and everyone is complying with regulatory laws – but you still had an accident. It happens to everyone eventually, and it’s why you have commercial coverage for your fleet of trucks and vans anyway. Learning more about the insurance process can help you get through the aftermath of an accident and move forward.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in every state requires both personal and commercial vehicles to obtain truck tags for license plates on an annual basis. The amount that drivers must pay for these truck tags depends on several factors, including age and type of the vehicle. Just as drivers of personal vehicles must prove they have minimum liability insurance, the same is true of commercial truckers. You will need to demonstrate that you have primary liability coverage to drive a commercial truck as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Physical damage insurance provides coverage to repair damage to your truck or trailer caused by fire, severe weather, theft, vandalism, and falling objects. It is common for lienholders on truck loans to require physical damage coverage to protect their financial interests if the truck requires costly repairs or cannot be fixed.
The price that you pay for physical damage truck insurance depends on the assessed value of your equipment. Insurance agents typically write policies that charge the trucker a percentage of the value to maintain coverage. Be sure to ask your agent to insure the truck for its current market value as that is what you will receive if you need to make a claim.
There are many protocols and procedures in place that can help to assure the safety of commercial drivers and all other people on the road. One of those categories of procedures involves drug and alcohol testing. Here is what you need to know about that type of testing for commercial drivers.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds to undergo an annual truck inspection. This is to ensure that all equipment on the commercial vehicle works as it should to help improve public safety. The DOT conducts inspections at six different levels. An inspection can take place anywhere a qualified DOT official or a police officer from the same state are present. While the inspections might feel nerve-wracking, the good news is that you can do several things to prepare and increase the likelihood of passing.
Flatbed trailers haul large, bulky items like heavy-duty vehicles, machinery and more. Because a flatbed trailer must use chains and other specialized equipment to secure loads, there tends to be more risk with driving these trucks compared to others. To manage risks, you must get the right flatbed truck insurance coverages.