Weekly Safety Topic: Distracted Driving

All regulated commercial vehicle drivers must follow the requirements regarding distracted driving using cell phones and other mobile communications devices. There are driver penalties up to $2,750 for the first and each offense thereafter. CDL privileges could be suspended and Employers could be fined up to $11,000.

Talking on the cell phone increases crash risk by 4-5 times whether using use a hand free system or not.

Zero tolerance! First offense is automatic 5 day suspension, second offense is termination.

Weekly Safety Topic: Following Too Close

Are you driving a safe enough distance from the vehicle ahead if it suddenly and unexpectedly stops? Drive at a speed that allows you time to see and react to a panic stop of the vehicle in front of you.

How do I know if I am leaving enough space to the vehicle ahead? At a minimum there should be at least 4 seconds of separation between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.

A safe distance allows for a safety cushion if unexpected hazards appear or road conditions change, or the vehicle ahead of you suddenly stops or changes direction. If someone cuts you off, reduce your speed to regain safe distance.

A safe following distance is the best practice to prevent a rear end collision. It is historically one of the most common and easily avoidable types of collisions. Don’t tailgate. Leave yourself enough space to react.

Weekly Safety Topic: Drugs And Alcohol

If you use a prescription or over the counter drug you need to be aware of the regulations governing their use as a commercial vehicle driver. The medication must be prescribed by a licensed physician to you. The prescribing physician has made a “good faith” judgement that the use of the substance prescribed or authorized dosage level is consistent with the safe performance of your duties. If one or more doctor is treating you, you must show that at least one of the treating doctors has been informed of all prescribed medications.

According to the FMCSA regulations, no employer shall permit a driver who refuses to submit to such tests to perform or continue to perform safety-sensitive functions including some situations drivers may not be aware including: Failing to provide a urine specimen for any drug test required, failing to provide a sufficient amount of urine when directed, failing to or declining to take a second test the employer or collector has directed the driver to take or failing to undergo a medical examination or evaluation, as directed by the MRO as part of the verification process.

If you are required to submit a specimen for a random test, you must proceed immediately to the collection. Contrary to the urban legends circulating among some employees, immediately does not mean 2 Hours. Immediately means that after notification, all the employee’s actions must lead to an immediate specimen collection.

No driver shall perform safety-sensitive functions within 4 hours after using alcohol. Using alcohol would mean even one drink. No driver required to take a post-accident alcohol test shall use alcohol for 8 hours following the accident; or, until he/she is tested.

Weekly Safety Topic: Safely Navigating Road Construction Season

In 2017, there were 710 fatal crashes in work zones, resulting in 799 fatalities. Of those 710 fatal crashes, 30 percent (216 crashes) involved a large truck.

Driving in a work zone magnifies the importance of defensive driving skills and safe driving practices. 

A driver should always approach a work zone in the same way he or she would approach any other adverse driving condition.

This includes being on the lookout for:

  • Narrow lanes
  • Merging vehicles
  • Shifting lanes
  • Slowing and stopping of traffic
  • Unexpected work vehicles entering the traffic flow
  • Speed limit adjustments
  • Flaggers in the roadway
  • Confused drivers
  • Impatient/aggressive drivers

 

Managing vehicle speed and space can go a long way when it comes to safely navigating a work zone.

Proper speed management means operating at a speed that takes into account road conditions, visibility, and traffic speed and flow.

Space management includes managing all space, including ahead, behind, to the sides, above, and below the vehicle.

As part of managing speed and space, a driver must be aware of the fact that the stopping distance for a large truck is much greater than the stopping distance for a car. 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that an 80,000 pound (loaded) tractor-trailer needs about 325 feet to stop when traveling at 55mph on a dry, level road. This stopping distance is almost 50 percent greater than the stopping distance needed for a mid-size car.

Extra caution should always be used when driving at night, but caution is even more important when traveling through a work zone.

At night, hazards aren’t as easy to see and may not be recognized as quickly as they are during daylight hours. Put simply, we do not see as well at night as we do during the day. Visual acuity is reduced, side vision is poorer, and drivers’ eyes have a difficult time adjusting to abrupt changes from darkness to light and back to darkness.

A vehicle’s headlights play an important part in safely operating at night. They are the main way to see and be seen on the highway, including in a work zone.

In good weather, low beam headlights allow a driver to see about 250 feet ahead. Speed may need to be adjusted so the vehicle can be stopped within the range of the headlights. A driver should never overdrive the vehicle’s headlights. Driving outside the range of the headlights can adversely affect hazard recognition.

Weekly Safety Topic: Making A Safe Landing

Watch For School Zones:

  • Speed limit zones
  • School zone areas

Slow Down:

  • Children are awaiting school buses
  • Always stop for school buses

Be Aware:  

  • Be aware of youthful drivers
  • Drive defensively

Weekly Safety Topic: Professionalism

 

Being Professional: When you are a professional commercial vehicle driver you know there are many rules to follow, including federal regulations, local and state laws and ordinances as well as driving related company policies. What separates a professional from a non-professional is understanding our society expects them to play by and follow the rules, no exceptions. To be able and meet those expectations a driver must be willing to accept coaching from others, be open to new ideas, willing to change, understanding the coach is perhaps not better than you, just that the coach can help you.

 

Being A Role Model: If you exhibit the qualities of a professional commercial vehicle driver other drivers value your advice and help. To be an effective “coach” be sure to demonstrate these traits: expertise, enthusiasm, clarity, empathy, respect and to lead by example.

 

The Right Stuff:  Professional drivers know they have a responsibility for the safety of other drivers, co-workers, other motorists, company vehicles and equipment.

Weekly Safety Topic: Learn About Cannabidiol Oil

What is CBD: Cannabidiol Oil or CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It does not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CDB has become the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana. It is a non-intoxicating marijuana extract being credited with helping treat a host of medical problems. Experts say the evidence is scant for most of these benefits. Worse, CBD is being produced without any regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality.

 

DOT Drug Testing: Per our Medical Review Officer (MRO) who oversees all of our DOT and Non-DOT drug and alcohol testing for KKW, “It is not good to use CBD if you are going to perform a safety sensitive job. Also, using CBD can trigger a positive result on DOT and Non-DOT drug tests.”

Legal Position:  Although, marijuana is legal in several states.  CBD is considered, by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), to be a controlled substance.

KKW Policy Number 210: The use, sale, transfer of possession of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances on company time or on company property, including in company vehicles, is prohibited.

Bottom Line: 

  • Having CDB in possession on KKW company property, which includes our trucks, is a violation of company policy.
  • Using CDB may trigger a positive result on drug tests.

Weekly Safety Topic: Distracted Driving

Mobile Phone Restrictions: regulated commercial vehicle drivers must follow the requirements regarding distracted driving using cell phones and other mobile communications devices. There are driver penalties up to $2,750 for the first and each offense thereafter. CDL privileges could be suspended and Employers could be fined up to $11,000.

Crash Risks: Talking on the cell phone increases crash risk by 4-5 times whether using use a hands free system or not.

Crash Statistics:  a university study found drivers using cell phones had slower reaction times than  drivers impaired by alcohol at a .08 blood alcohol concentration.

Distracted driving means: Not focusing on the road ahead and mirrors can lead to being caught unaware of changing conditions or situations in front of and around your vehicle. How many seconds or minutes a day have you driven blindly while distracted. Focusing on an object, person, task, or event not related to driving affects the driver’s awareness, decision making and/or performance. Think of the number of things you do like that and then add the average amount of time you are not focused on a daily basis.

Weekly Safety Topic: Following Too Close

Are you driving a safe enough distance from the vehicle ahead if it suddenly and unexpectedly stops?

Drive at a speed that allows you time to see and react to a panic stop of the vehicle in front of you.

How do I know if I am leaving enough space to the vehicle ahead?

At a minimum there should be at least 4 seconds of separation between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.

When road and weather conditions deteriorate or traffic volume increases you should add more time between you and the vehicle ahead.

Extreme conditions such as rain, ice, snow and fog require adding space until you are sure you have time to suddenly stop without striking the vehicle ahead.

It is almost a certainty that if you strike a vehicle from the rear you will be partially if not solely responsible, especially when visibility, weather conditions and vehicle controls are degraded.