Archive for November, 2013

Semi-truck driver dies in crash

By Jena Williams

Friday morning 51-year-old James Morton of Benton City was driving his semi-truck southbound on Highway 20 about 13 miles north of Cusick when he crossed the center line and ultimately died after a crash with another semi.

We don’t know the details of what occurred before this sad chain of events, but hope this will be a reminder to everyone to please drive carefully out there. If you are tired, take a break. If you are fighting a cold or illness don’t expect as much from yourself. Allow yourself time to recover and to work safely.

Our thoughts go out to the friends, families and companies of both drivers.

For more details from KHQ:

Organized Chain Up?

By Jena Williams

It isn’t an oxymoron.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed an unprecedented plan to reduce congestion and improve safety around chain up areas on I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass.

If you are a frequent cross-state traveler, you have probably seen the lane construction and new signage along westbound I-90, three miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

The plan is to increase communication and get rid of the confusion over when and where to stop to chain up.

In addition to labeling the chain-up zones, which can be hard to decipher with a layer of snow over everything, there will also be information about room available ahead to chain up so drivers won’t be stopping in the traffic lanes out of fear they’ll run out of space to chain up.

Be aware, stops will be limited to 30 minutes, so don’t plan to park and sleep it out. Prepare in advance with these chaining guides:

Take time to check your chains:

Tips for successful chaining:

Heading eastbound? Don’t despair! Eastbound traffic will see similar upgrades in upcoming years.

For more info from WA DOT:

Link to the Washington State Patrol’s MINIMUM CHAIN REQUIREMENTS for vehicles and combinations over 10,000 pounds GVWR:

Link to Washington State Commercial Vehicle Guide (page 1-2):

Ever wonder what makes a company great?

By Jena Williams

Is it years of experience? Supportive management? A strong safety culture? Reputation? Yes, all these things are important, but the most important ingredients are the dedicated employees that make up the team.

Last Friday, I was privileged to have the opportunity to ride along with Jim Carter of Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc., to see firsthand how a truly professional truck driver gets it done. Jim’s been a truck driver for 25 years with the last two and half at Oak Harbor Freight Lines. Jim is meticulous in checking the load to prevent load shift, careful with his deliveries, friendly with all his customers and always on the go!

He has some advice to new drivers just starting out, “Always pay attention to your surroundings and the other vehicles, including other trucks on the road. Don’t trust that they won’t cut you off. “

Thank you again to the supportive management at Oak Harbor Freight Lines for giving me the opportunity to ride along with one of your best!

I’ll never stop being amazed by the variability of this industry, the complexity of the process and how hard you all work to make it look easy.

So many of us don’t realize the dedication of truck drivers to getting all we need, where we need it and on time.

So to the rest of the motoring public, from Jim and all the other hard working drivers out there – give them space on the roads.  Check out the No-Zone for more information on driving safe around trucks. Always remember that if you can’t see the driver in a mirror, the driver can’t see you.

FMCSA Share the Road Safely, No-Zones:

Working in the dark

By Jena Williams


Truckers put in long hours all year, but the shortening of days mixed with fog or rain make working outside treacherous.

Always wear high-visibility clothing or vests when working outside your truck.

Employers, consider providing headlamps to your workers so they can keep their hands free. Headlamps are double-duty in allowing workers to see and be seen.

Here are a few of my favorite safety materials on this topic from

Camo is not part of this job description:

Working in the dark:

This is what motorists see:

Find more at

I bet you’ve got stories of close calls or lessons learned. Share them in the comments.

Freedom isn’t free

By Jena Williams

We at appreciate you Veterans. Thank you for your service!

If you are a returning veteran, consider a new career in trucking. We need you!

GI Bill resources for servicemen and women will help you get your CDL:

Safety training doesn’t have to be lame!

By Jena Williams

Check out our companion site at to find fun, interactive training tools on:

Go ahead and use the materials at  It’s all free!