Comments (58)MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — ConocoPhillips will start moving its first load of oversized oil-refinery equipment across northern Idaho and into Montana starting Tuesday, said a spokesman for the oil company.
Bill Stephens said the first of four large loads starting from the port of Lewiston will take four days to cross Idaho on a winding and scenic stretch of U.S. Highway 12 on its way to a refinery in Billings, Mont. The shipment follows months of legal challenges over the Idaho Transportation Department’s initial decision to permit the oversized loads and approval of the travel plan.
Earlier this month, Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness agreed to issue travel permits allowing ConocoPhillips to start moving the huge loads.
Stephens told the Missoulian that first load will be joined by a second near Lolo Pass, and the two loads will start a 14-day trip across Montana, beginning Feb. 10 and covering 172 miles from start to finish.
The big rigs are authorized to travel from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. in Idaho, and midnight to 6 a.m. in Montana. They would be parked at roadside turnouts during the day, and likely some nights as well.
“They agree that safety’s more important than the day you move it,” said Jim Lynch, director of the Montana Department of Transportation, referring to the company. “We’re interested not only in the safety of the rigs that are moving down the roadway, but what are the conditions for the motorists that are traveling on the roadway? We want to make sure that we’re not creating an unsafe environment for them as well.”
The transporters have 24 axles and 96 wheels, carrying the huge loads that weight about 300 tons each. The trucks are 29 feet wide, 28 feet high, and 226 feet long.
Officials said each load will be accompanied by about 30 workers, ranging from law enforcement to flaggers and civilian escorts. On tight corners, workers will walk on the roadway and manipulate dollies that support beams on which the refinery equipment sits.
Idaho-based Advocates for the West and Montana-based All Against the Hall said they planned to protest the passing loads, but won’t try to block the shipments.
“We think it is important for local residents to understand exactly how massive these shipments are and what their impacts may be for traffic and business on Highway 12,” said Linwood Laughy of Advocates for the West. “But we do not suggest that anyone attempt to interfere with them.”
“We’ll have a demonstration or rally in Lolo whenever the loads happen to be sitting there, and we expect hundreds of people to be there,” said Zack Porter of All Against the Haul.
Later this year, ExxonMobil hopes to begin shipping the first of more than 200 oversized loads along the byway, into Montana, then north to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. ExxonMobil has already delivered more than a dozen massive modules of refinery machinery to the port in Lewiston.
Nascent freight predictions have many fleets and investors turning their focus toward the impact of CSA 2010, the aging driver pool and other issues on “an impending acute” driver shortage. Our requests around what CSA 2010 really means – are up from shippers, logistics providers, smaller truckers and others watching the industry. We agree that the driver pool is changing, but we don’t see it as the crisis and happening as quickly as some think. Here are some thoughts.
First of all, I must correct myself. CSA is no longer Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, but the acronym CSA was recently changed to mean Compliance Safety Accountability. For most, this creates some good comments (jokes) in the field around why Comprehensive and Analysis were changed. Needless to say the current name is more appropriate than the former.
Key to the program – or any analysis – is data. Just ask any statistician. One can run some controlled tests like we are doing with 2010-compliant engines – but that is a different animal. Another data argument surrounds the low percent of containers actually inspected that come into the country. Trucking / Logistics can be characterized as anything but a controlled test environment.
So when you ask statistics-folks how much data is needed to make decisions – they say lots. When you ask about the minimum amount needed – they say enough to make a decision. OK, I recently learned about enough and lots when we got trailer temperature data for loads for an Arizona State University USDA study. We got hundreds-of-thousands of data points from runs from Mexico and from across the US where I thought we had lots, but was told it was just enough. Even more would be better!
The same holds true when we look at macro fleet fuel mileage, average fuel costs, equipment utilization data, logbook data, maintenance data and all the other data truckers have to keep an eye on. That gets us into the old DOT SafeStat data, as well and the current “at least more comprehensive” approach. It was estimated by DOT that perhaps 2% of fleets were actually audited in the previous program, which came as a result of on-road inspections, log violations and tickets input. In other words, we needed more data to do it all better (we agree).
The data kicked out to date in CSA is interesting. Of the 400.000+ carriers that are estimated to be in the database, about 20% are rated. This percentage drops if the actual number of fleets are somewhere in-between the 400,000 and 700,000 shown in the DOT registration database (probably too much data here). Regardless if it’s 400,000, this means that 80% aren’t rated. Why? Not enough data. Why is this? Generally, smaller fleets don’t get inspected as often as larger fleets (it’s a numbers game) – so there’s not “enough” data to rate them.
A good example of data needed comes from the previous Mexico Cross-Border Program. The 25 Mexican carriers and their 100 trucks in the pilot had driver out-of-service violations at one-half of 1% and vehicle violations were 9% – and NO fatalities. This compares to US-domiciled trucking fleets at 7% for drivers and 23% for vehicles. Of course, if you know you are going to be inspected – you do things the best you can – and is what we hope to see with CSA. The conclusion however was that there was not enough data to make comments as to whether these operations were safe.
Then there are the CSA data issues around equipment versus driver. An equipment issue affects both the fleet and driver’s scores. What feeds the database? Data for the equipment comes from “certified” inspections entered in from the home-base – and those done on the roadside. Data for drivers comes from their driving record, logbooks, accidents – and those done on the roadside. Positive data can come from more “certified” equipment inspections and driver screening before trucks / drivers are put out on the road.
The key to staying out of trouble comes from data. Roughly a third of road-side inspections are triggered by speed – too fast / too close for conditions. Another third are triggered by visual defects seen in drive-bys such as brakes, lights and tires. The key here is to drive responsibly and do pre-inspections. Once pulled over, the big issues cited are driver logs and equipment maintenance.
As a reference, the 7 Behavioral Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories for Commercial Motor Vehicles are as follows:
1. Unsafe Driving – Dangerous or careless operation (e.g. speed / following too close).
2. Fatigued Driving – Driving when fatigued including Hours-of-Service violations
3. Driver Fitness – Operation by drivers who are unfit due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualification.
4. Controlled Substances and Alcohol – Operation impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription medications or over-the-counter medications.
5. Vehicle Maintenance – Issues due to improper or inadequate maintenance.
6. Improper Loading/Cargo Securement – Shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and unsafe hazardous materials handling.
7. Crash/Incident Experience – Histories or patterns (frequency and severity of crashes.
So what does this mean? If only a small percentage of trucking companies and drivers are rated, then it doesn’t seem there will be a massive squeeze on capacity and drivers that some are predicting – until we get a lot more data in for smaller carriers. For the major carriers producing lots of data like Swift, Schneider, Con-way, Fed-Ex, US Xpress, etc., who are the some of most productive, they will be affected more around drivers – since they already do a good job in keeping the equipment up to snuff. The vast majority of the trucking industry will be less affected – for years. Those who do things right, even less so.
Otherwise, the driver opportunities are being planned for with fleets hiring recruiters – and driver schools being cranked up. Additionally, a driver new to the industry has a much better driver score than does an experienced one. Therefore, we feel that the driver shortage may not be coming as quickly as some think – and some others feel the same!
This month the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expects to start expanding the reach of its new safety regime, CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability). It’s going beyond the nine pilot test states to all states with warning letters to carriers whose safety performance is falling short.
The warning letters will identify the areas where the carrier has missed the mark and explain how carriers can see their own data online and correct it if it is wrong. The letters also spell out what steps the agency may take against the carrier if it does not correct the problem.
“We urge you to take this warning letter seriously and improve your safety record,” the letters will say.
CSA Program Manager Gary Woodford said the agency will take a phased approach to sending out the letters. The agency wants to be sure its state and regional personnel are not overwhelmed by phone calls from carriers that receive the letters.
The agency’s experience in the pilot states indicates that there will be a strong response. More than half of the pilot-state carriers that received warning letters took action, mainly by going to the CSA website and checking their data. Woodford said the agency is encouraged by that strong response.
The first step
The warning letter, which is triggered by a carrier’s performance in roadside inspections and any crashes it may have been involved in, is the first step in a series of gradually tougher enforcement actions.
The letter will cite deficiencies in any of the seven safety categories the agency has established as a way to gauge performance. These categories, called Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories, or BASICs, are: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator.
Carriers receive a percentile ranking of their performance in each category compared to other, similar carriers. The warning letter is triggered when their rank exceeds a threshold determined by the agency.
The agency will inform carriers in separate communications about any egregious violations by drivers, such as driving without a commercial license or driving after being placed out of service.
The warning letters also say that failure to improve safety performance will lead to further action.
What comes next
If carriers don’t improve their performance after receiving an intervention letter, FMCSA has a range of actions in its arsenal, starting with a targeted roadside inspection based on data that inspectors get from the CSA system. These inspections will take place at permanent and temporary facilities where the inspectors can wirelessly link into the CSA database.
The next step would be an offsite investigation, in which the carrier must submit documents such as toll receipts or drug testing records to the agency or a state partner so officials can identify safety problems.
Continued problems, or more significant ones, can lead to an onsite investigation that focuses on a specific problem or looks comprehensively at the carrier’s safety management system.
From there, the agency can move to a voluntary Cooperative Safety Plan in which the carrier addresses safety issues in its operations.
Getting even tougher, the agency can issue a Notice of Violation that spells out a carrier’s safety deficiencies and requires a response.
The next steps would be a NoÂtice of Claim – a civil penalty – or the ultimate penalty, an Out of Service Order requiring the carrier to stop operating.
Woodford said if a carrier’s initial violations are significant enough, the agency will not necessarily send a warning letter but will move straight to an offsite or onsite investigation.
Later this year, probably in August or September, the agency intends to publish a proposal to establish new safety fitness procedures under CSA. That rule would not be final until close to the end of the year.
From the January 2011 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
OWATONNA — A truck driver is scheduled to appear in Steele County District Court next month on charges that his negligence led to a landscaping block falling off his trailer and killing a 17-year-old boy last summer.
Darrell W. Jensen is accused of not securing pallets of cement blocks properly, resulting in one block bouncing on an Owatonna, Minn., highway, smashing through the windshield of a minivan traveling the opposite direction and striking Steven K. Batt of Waseca, Minn., in the head.
Jensen, 41, of Medford, Minn., faces charges of criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of failing to secure a load, leaking load and damaged securement devices.
“Based on the information we have, this incident was easily avoidable,” Steele County Attorney Dan McIntosh said.
Jensen was a truck driver for Mendota Heights-based Cemstone Products Co. at the time of the Aug. 3 accident, according to the Dec. 27 criminal complaint, as well as during a 2009 incident in which a block fell off his truck and damaged a car on Interstate 35W in Burnsville.
Jensen was in violation of five federal regulations that govern securing cargo during the Owatonna accident, according to the criminal complaint.
A trooper with the State Patrol’s commercial vehicle section inspected Jensen’s trailer and noted damaged straps, loose metal edging reinforcement and a load that was insufficiently tied down to prevent movement given the weight of each pallet of blocks, the complaint states. Each pallet weighed about 2,120 pounds, the 36 blocks on each weighing about 59 pounds.
In addition, the pallets were loaded with space between them.
An accident reconstruction report concluded that Jensen’s failure to secure the pallets resulted in the block falling off, according to the complaint.
Batt, who died at the scene, was a front-seat passenger in a Dodge Caravan driven by his friend Steven M. Masberg, 16, also of Waseca. Masberg was not injured and was able to drive to the side of the road.
Jensen told a trooper at the accident scene that he checked his mirrors often to make sure the load was not shifting, according to the complaint. He said as he went around a curve, he saw the block fall off.
Jensen said he had personally secured the load before leaving Mankato, according to the charges. He said that after he realized a block fell off, he placed another strap on the load “to make sure nothing else moved.”
Cemstone’s safety director, Mike Brekken, did not return calls Wednesday from the Pioneer Press seeking comment about the two incidents involving Jensen.
In an e-mail to the Pioneer Press, Tim Becken, the company’s senior vice president of operations, called the August accident “tragic.”
“No one feels worse than Mr. Jensen and everyone at Cemstone, and our sympathies continue to be for the family,” he wrote.
Becken did not respond to a follow-up e-mail from the Pioneer Press asking whether Jensen is still employed with Cemstone.
Jensen, who was charged by summons, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Steele County District Court on Feb. 28.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each of the two felony charges and 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine for each of the three misdemeanor counts.
MADISON TWP., Mich. — More advanced planning will be needed this year by contractors and haulers. A same-day option for obtaining permits for oversized loads, driveways and working within a road right-of-way has been eliminated by the Lenawee County Road Commission.
The same-day option at triple the normal permit cost was started in 2002 with the idea the cost would reduce the number of applicants asking for the expedited service, said managing director Orrin Gregg.
“That didn’t work,” he said. “We noticed the people coming in for an instant permit had gone up.” The additional cost was apparently being passed on by contractors to their customers, he said. Reduced staffing at the road commission has also made it more difficult to complete the necessary permit work for same-day service, he said.
A next-day option at double the normal permit cost is still available, Gregg said.
Copyright 2011 The Daily Telegram. Some rights reserved
CTA concerned over upcoming tiedown marking rules
TORONTO – The Canadian Trucking Alliance is warning carriers about inconsistencies in enforcement of cargo securement rule changes
taking effect on Jan. 1.
The educational enforcement period, which so far has consisted of warnings to carriers, ends on Dec. 31, 2010 and carriers in violation will risk being put out-of-service.
On New Years Day, each of the minimum number of tie-downs required must be rated and marked with a working load limit. Default values for working load limits will be eliminated from the Cargo Securement Standard.
As with many National Safety Code issues, CTA says that there are likely to be some inconsistencies in enforcement policy between jurisdictions, potentially creating challenges for inter-provincial carriers.
“Governments are committed to moving forward with this change January 1st, despite the fact it will put Canadian and U.S. regulations out of sync. We also remain concerned regarding the enforcement approach taken by all provinces,” said Geoff Wood, CTA’s VP, Operations and Safety.
Under the rule, manufacturers must directly mark the tiedowns with a working load limit value, or use a standard marking method adopted by the Web Sling and Tiedown Association to show the working load limit.
Carriers are encouraged to go over the markings with their drivers to ensure drivers know how to locate them on the tiedowns.
TweetBy Tom Berg, Senior Equipment Editor
When drivers are tying down a flatbed load, they may be tempted to use equipment that’s worn or torn or broken, so they can get going and earn some money. But if one or two break loose in a tight turn or hard stop and the load shifts and falls off the trailer, they – and your company – will be wishing they had slowed down long enough to take a closer look at those securement devices.
Tie-downs need maintenance like anything else, and there are proper ways to inspect, use and store them, according to the Web, Sling and Tie Down Association. Its publication, “Recommended Standard Specification for Synthetic Web Tie-Downs,” deals with straps. The recommendations cover testing, labeling and selection of web tie-downs, which we won’t get into here. The association’s recommendations are so solid that government authorities picked them up in their rewrite of federal tie-down standards in 2004.
Chains are a whole ‘nother subject, but the old warning about “the weakest link” is absolutely true. You need to watch for twisted, stretched and elongated links, wear to and chinks in surfaces of links and hooks, and balky or broken ratcheting mechanisms. It’s common sense to store this equipment in a dry place. Hanging chains on headboards is OK because they’ll shed rain and ice, and dry out when the sun resumes shining. Not so with leaky toolboxes, which retain water unless drainage is positive. Remember, rust never sleeps.
Synthetic-fabric straps also find homes in toolboxes, and although they don’t rust, they can pick up mildew and other growths that don’t do them any good. It’s better to store these things in leak-resistant boxes to keep them dry and protected from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Also, keep straps away from grease; if there’s grease on the trailer’s floor, try to clean it up. These and other points are in Chapter 4 of the WSTDA publication.
The life and strength of straps are also affected by how they’re used, so Chapter 4 also gets into that. Here are some of the points:
Employ web straps properly, within their rated working capacities, and use enough for the job. Remember that angles between the load and the attachment point affect how many pounds are placed on a strap. Federal tie-down standards dictate how many straps should be used on given loads and how they should be attached to the truck.
Watch how you drape straps over the load. Unless you enjoy buying new ones often, avoid stringing straps over sharp edges, corners and the like. If those things can’t be avoided, use cushions of wood, fabric, rubber, etc., to protect straps and the load.
Certain cargoes are specifically addressed by federal tie-down standards. These include massive metal coils, which must be blocked and braced as well as tied down. There are 12 other commodities covered, including boulders, flattened or crushed vehicles, roll-off and intermodal containers, concrete pipe, paper rolls, and logs.
Use care in removing straps. Don’t pull them out from under loads; this will fray and cut them. Roll up each strap as you remove it so it stays out of dirt and water. This will extend its life.
Avoid using damaged straps. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, whose member agencies employ many of the official inspectors who check your vehicle and its loads, allows limited cuts and abrasions. If you want to stay legal, know those descriptions and dimensions. If you want to stay really safe, replace a strap as soon as it’s damaged, because there’s no way to know how much strength the strap has lost because of that damage. Trying to mend a broken strap by tying it together is neither safe nor allowed, no matter how strong your Boy Scout or Navy knots might be.
Tie-down straps are not suitable for lifting, lowering or suspending cargo, or for towing. There are other products made for those activities.
If you’re a driver, learn all you can about tie-down equipment and the rules that govern it. If you’re a manager, take time to train your drivers in how to use the equipment. Some states might require you to do this.
Alabama, for example, just adopted regulations mandating certain numbers of hours of training on load securement, as well as stricter penalties for lost loads. They were inspired by a string of accidents where steel coils fell off trailers, punching holes in overpasses. Luckily, no one was killed – but they easily could have been.
Woe to the company whose lost load kills a motorist because they neglected basic tie-down inspections and maintenance.
From the May 2009 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.
Flatbed Truck Accident
On the picturesque roadways of the United States, flatbed truck accidents all too often create an unsafe, ugly scene. Of the roughly half-million truck accidents that occur each year, flatbed trucks make up a great portion—both through collisions and unsecured cargo.
A flatbed truck is a large vehicle used for commercial purposes with a minimum gross weight of 10,000 pounds, discounting the weight of any passengers or cargo.
Unlike a tractor-trailer truck, the flatbed is mounted directly on the chassis of the truck and cannot be removed. And unlike a tanker truck, a flatbed truck has an open flatbed, as opposed to a closed or covered tanker. It is onto this flatbed that commercial goods and cargo are loaded and transported.
Types of Flatbed Truck Accidents
Flatbed trucks have been known to be involved in accidents both on and off the road.
1) On-the-Road Flatbed Truck Accidents
Many flatbed truck accidents are caused because of the load that they are carrying. Logs, among other types of lumber, are generally transported using flatbed trucks. Sometimes, when a flatbed truck accident occurs, the logs on the truck are shifted forward due to the impact, and come crashing into the cab of the truck after crushing the cab guards. These logs then strike the driver and other passengers in the truck, resulting in serious injuries and sometimes death. So even if the truck passengers would have been able to escape the impact uninjured, the flatbed truck accident can become a tragedy because of the load being carried.
Flatbeds are also used to haul many other types of loads, including motors, cranes, building materials, concrete beams, drywall, etc. These heavy loads have to be tied down to the flatbed and secured thoroughly. The drivers of the flatbed truck are also required to periodically stop their trucks, check their loads, and ensure that their cargo is secured properly and that there is no cause for concern. Even though flatbed truck drivers are careful for the most part, sometimes errors in securing the load adequately, or failure to regularly check the loads while on the road, can lead to a serious flatbed truck accident.
2) Off the Road Flatbed Truck Accidents
All flatbed truck accidents do not necessarily happen on the road. Some occur even if the flatbed truck is not in operation. Many times, during loading of the cargo on the flatbed truck, forklifts and other heavy machinery are used to lift heavy loads onto the flatbed. Misjudgments while using such machinery and errors while loading have resulted in many flatbed truck accidents, in which people have been crushed between the forklift and the rear of the truck, or been crushed by falling loads, and have lost their lives.
Thus to avoid flatbed truck accidents which occur because of the heavy loads, it is essential that employers adequately train their employees and truck drivers in the following areas:
Proper loading and unloading of heavy cargo from and onto the flatbed trucks.
Proper handling and operation of forklifts and other heavy machinery.
Flatbed truck drivers also need to be educated on the importance of regular checking of the loads on their flatbed truck. In a bid to save some time by not stopping to check if loads are secured properly, a truck driver could end up losing his life and also endangering that of others should a flatbed truck accident occur due to unsecured, heavy loads.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident involving a flatbed truck, it is in your best interest to contact an accident attorney today. They will help you to determine all of the compensation that you should have coming to you.
How to keep your cargo safe and secure
People try their best to thwart the possibility of an accident but you cannot stop it altogether.
There are several variables that are beyond a driver’s control. The unfavorable weather, the actions of other motorists, the condition of the road on which the vehicle is running, the quality of maintenance, and cargo carrier equipment in place.
A recent survey conducted by the Center for Truck Statistics reveals that there were more than four hundred thousand truck load crashes involving deaths, injuries, or property damage. This is where the need of high quality safety mechanism and Cargo securement steps in. You need to keep your cargo secure at all costs.
Ratchet tie down straps and load binders are considered as the most reliable means of tying down and securing cargo for transport. These equipments keep the cargo stable and stationary. Rachet straps are of high quality and allow you to take up any slack in the strap, with the help of the ratchet, which will in turn regulate the amount of tension in the tie down strap. Ratchet tie down straps offers you higher stability than other truck tie downs.
When using Cargo securement equipments, it is quite essential to adhere to proper usage procedures to avoid any accident to the user and damage to the cargo being secured. You need to ensure that winch straps do not prevent any doors, such as the tailgate of the vehicle, from shutting appropriately.
Ratchet tie down is a reliable way by which you can secure items atop flatbed or roofless trailers. You can use winch straps to transport heavy cargos without having the need of shifting contents during transport.
There are several stores on the internet that offers you the right safety equipments and tools to help you sustain your cargo. Load Securement is essential to assure smooth operation. These web stores offer high quality cargo fastening gear that ensures that your freight will remain safe and secure all the way.
Simply sit at your computer and do a quick search online for Cargo securement and you will come across wide selection of equipments and tools that comprises of ratchet straps, truck tie downs, logistic straps, cargo bars and much more. These equipments will ensure that your cargo is delivered right at the destination specified by you in a safe and secure way. The high quality winch straps safeguards you from article shifts, falling cargo, and other disasters.
These stores offer you outstanding customer service and the staff is always willing to resolve all your doubts and queries. You can even follow the web stores on social networking sites. To upgrade yourself regarding Load Securement equipments you just need to subscribe for the newsletter. You will get all the details about advanced Load binders and ratchet tie down straps along with the special deals and promotional offers, right in your inbox. These websites are committed to offering you cost effective, efficient, and top notch quality freight restraining tools for nearly all vehicles. Browse online right now to ensure the safety of your cargo in every step of the way.