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After 16 Years, TIRES Says Goodbye, Rolls Out Online Trucking Safety Program Development Tool

Trucking Safety Development Tool

The Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) project is coming to a final stop after 16-years of blazing new trails in trucking safety research, hazard and injury identification, digitally-mediated education and training, and online safety program development. The project designed a wide variety of free products to keep truck drivers, diesel mechanics, loading dock workers, and other employees safe on the job. All of our products will continue to be available on our website keeptruckingsafe.org.

Team Effort

Of course, TIRES could not have reached its goals without our many dedicated team members from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) program who conducted research, authored publications, created trainings, performed outreach, and maintained our website. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our 12-member steering committee. This multi-sector group of Washington State trucking safety experts from business, labor, insurance, and academia advised us in almost every aspect of the project from start to finish. Their involvement included answering questions, attending meetings, reviewing tip sheets, testing simulations, arranging site visits, and much more. We benefited greatly from their experience, guidance, and volunteer service, and we will reflect on our collaboration with deep appreciation. In addition, TIRES is grateful for the support we received from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) grant U60 OH008487.

Roads Ahead

As TIRES draws to a close, we know that improving safety for trucking industry workers will remain an ongoing critical mission. There will always be a need for better ways to keep trucking safe because the ever-evolving mix of technology, people, and environments will change how, where, why, and when hazards, risks, and injuries occur. This makes it especially crucial to enhance our ability to identify and assess hazards and risks across different trucking occupations, sectors, and job activities to maximize limited resources and to better focus prevention efforts. Achieving this will require us all to continue supporting new breakthroughs in injury research and surveillance methods, government and business collaboration, education and training, local and national outreach, and safety program development.

TIRES Safety Program Development Tool

We’d also like to say thank you and goodbye by presenting you with our final product: the online TIRES Safety Program Development Tool. This first-of-its-kind tool enables trucking companies to create safety programs tailored to their specific mix of vehicles, equipment, and work environments.

The Challenge

Trucking has some of the highest injury rates among all industries. Having a company safety program is the best way to prevent injuries. Not having one tops workplace safety rule violations for Washington State trucking companies. Injury prevention and rule compliance are harder for small to mid-sized companies with limited safety management resources.

The Response

The TIRES Safety Program Development Tool is the result of a multi-year collaboration between project staff, our steering committee of safety experts, and software developers. The tool inputs user information to create a customized safety program that covers these areas:

  • Management leadership and commitment
  • Employee involvement and participation
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Education and training
  • Customer / multi-employer site safety
  • Program monitoring and improvement

Company tests indicated that users enjoyed the tool’s simple features. All that’s needed is a Google Chrome internet browser, a printer, and a few minutes to type some company information. The tool does the rest. The user’s final download includes safety policies, hazard and injury reporting forms, PPE guidance, a training plan, and much more. Users can also update their safety program at any time.

The TIRES Safety Program Development Tool is a breakthrough in using web technology to deploy safety resources to trucking companies that need them. Nearly any short-haul and regional trucking company in Washington State can use the tool. You can also help us to improve the tool by completing the user evaluation questionnaire at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TruckingSafetyProgramTool.

The Impact and Your Participation

For more information and resources, visit keeptruckingsafe.org or contact SHARP’s TIRES staff at (888) 667-4277. L&I’s Consultation Program also offers confidential, free advice and assistance to Washington businesses that can help you find and fix hazards in your workplace and strengthen your safety program.

Thanks again for riding with us. We wish you all the best. Keep trucking safe!

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June 8 is National Forklift Safety Day

National Forklift Safety Day 2021 will take place on June 8 to promote forklift safety best practices, operator training, and equipment inspections with the goal of preventing injuries, fatalities, equipment damage, and many other costly losses.

First used over 100 years ago, forklifts are essential to the commercial transportation and warehousing industry, being used to lift, move, and place freight weighing up to 70 tons. However, forklifts can be extremely hazardous when used the wrong way. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklift-related incidents caused 614 worker fatalities and over 49,000 time-loss injuries between 2011 and 2017. Many incidents involved tip-over, crush, and struck-by events, harming operators and pedestrians.

Forklift Injuries in Trucking

In trucking, the use of forklifts to load and unload trailers puts truck drivers at high risk of being crushed and struck. Unpublished Washington State workers’ compensation claim data shows that 501 forklift-related injuries occurred within the general and specialized freight trucking sectors between 2006 and 2018. This represents 36 percent of the total forklift related injuries in the State’s transportation and warehousing industry. A third of these injuries were serious, ending in time-loss claims.

An excellent way to reduce the risk of forklift incidents is to include job hazard analysis (JHA) in in your written company safety program. Performing a JHA involves four basic steps:

  • Selecting the job to be analyzed.
  • Breaking the job down into sequential order.
  • Identifying potential hazards.
  • Finding hazard prevention solutions.

Documenting your JHA on a standard form can help communicate forklift hazard prevention solutions to employees.

National Forklift Safety Day is a perfect time to elevate your forklift safety training and education program for truck drivers, equipment operators, material handlers, and mechanics. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Hold a special safety meeting.
  • Plan a safety knowledge contest.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Start a new safety practice.
  • Perform a job hazard analysis.
  • Conduct refresher training.
  • Review safety bulletins or watch a safety video.

Consider watching the Industrial Truck Association’s virtual event at 9:00 AM ET on June 8. The event will feature speakers and presentations from forklift safety experts representing private industry and government.

Click on the following links for free forklift hazard prevention training materials:

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries:

Safety Topics: Forklifts  

U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool

Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts

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National Safety Month, A Time for Awareness, Planning, and Prevention

Image source: National Safety Council

National Safety Month takes place every June to bring together communities, organizations, and health professionals to help prevent injuries and fatalities at work, at home, and on the road.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2017 preventable workplace injury-related deaths totaled 4,414, and medically consulted injuries totaled 4.5 million. Total injury costs reached an estimated $161.5 billion, including wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle property damage, and employer costs.

Keeping Truck Drivers Safe

Having a written company safety program is the best way to keep truck drivers safe at work, and it’s the law in Washington State. An effective safety program should include: safety policies, steps to identify job hazards and solutions, an incident reporting system, personal protective equipment standards, and a safety training program. It should also clearly list responsibilities for safety directors, managers, supervisors, and employees. Review, evaluate, and update your safety program often to reduce everyday injury risks and when you change equipment, skills, and supplies.   

Participate in National Safety Month by planning a few training activities that will show your employees how to work safely. Some ideas to help get you going include having a safety fair, 5-minute toolbox talks, tip sheets, hands-on training, holding a lunch-n-learn, safety trivia contests, and safety excellence awards.

Check out the links below for resources to plan your events:

Free trucking safety training materials at KeepTruckingSafe.org.

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries training, videos & workshops.

National Safety Month training resources from the National Safety Council.

Take the SafeAtWork Pledge and let others know here.

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Litter Prevention and Load Securement Emphasis begins May 28

Image of blue square with the text "Secure Your Load For Safer Roads!"

As a part of Washington’s new We Keep Washington Litter Free campaign, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) will be conducting statewide emphasis patrols over four weekends from May 28 to June 20. The patrols will coincide with National Secure Your Load Day, which takes place annually on June 6th to remind motorists about the importance of secure loads and litter prevention.

Unsecured loads and road debris cause serious traffic safety risks. According to WSP Sgt. Darren Wright, “Every year, road debris contributes to an average of nearly 90,000 property-related crashes on U.S. roadways. More than 17,000 people are injured from those crashes and over 700 are fatal. . .These crashes are entirely preventable and the power to stop them is in the hands of Washington drivers.” Debris on Washington State highways cause about 300 traffic crashes and 30 injuries every year. More than 12 million pounds of litter ends up on Washington roadways and up to 40% – almost 5 million pounds – comes from unsecured cargo and debris blowing out of pickup truck beds.

State troopers as well as environmental and road officials are always on the lookout for drivers with unsecured loads to keep roadways safe, clean, and clear. Violations for littering and unsecured loads are punishable with fines from $50 to $5000 and potential jail time for severe offenses that cause bodily harm or property damage.

Secure Your Load Day began with activist Robin Abel, the force behind Maria’s Law, which criminalizes improperly secured loads. Abel pushed for the law after her 24-year-old daughter Maria Federici suffered near-fatal injuries which left her blinded after unsecured particleboard from a rented trailer smashed through her car’s windshield on I-405 in Renton. Abel’s work has spread, attracting over 40 other states and territories to participate in Secure Your Load Day.

Tips for Truck Drivers

Unsecured loads cause injuries and fatalities that are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips to help make sure your load is secure:

  • Binders, chains, nettings, and tarps must be securely fastened to the trailer.
  • Make sure unused dunnage, broken pallets, or other loose debris are cleared off your trailer.
  • Freight should be neatly stacked and tightly fastened inside trailers.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle.
  • Double check to make sure your trailer doors are properly closed.
  • Keep your cab clean to make sure trash or debris do not fly out of the window.

If you see someone traveling with an unsecured load, pull over to a safe area and call 911 to report it.

Visit the following links for additional information and resources:

Washington State Department of Ecology:

Litter prevention website

Load securement tips

Tip sheet in English

Tip sheet in Spanish

Secure You Load Safety video

Washington State Patrol:

Secure Your Load video

King County:

Load securement resources and information

Secure Your Load for Safer Roads video

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Driver’s Handbook on cargo securement

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National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th

Image source: U.S. Department of Justice

National Missing Children’s Day began in 1983 after several high-profile disappearances took place, including the kidnappings and murders of 6-year-olds Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, and the alarming recoveries of twenty-nine bodies of children and young adults in Atlanta. National Missing Children’s Day honors missing and abducted children while celebrating those who have been recovered. It also raises awareness of the need to improve searching for those missing.

The Problem

At the end of 2017, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center had active records on 88,089 missing persons. Children and young adults under the age of 21 accounted for 46.6 percent of the total records. Hundreds of thousands of new records are added each year, but fortunately most of these are found. The top circumstance for those who go missing is running away from home followed by abductions by non-custodial parents or strangers. One in seven of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of sex trafficking.

Truck Drivers Can Help

Being on the road puts truck drivers in a position to be the eyes and ears that help find a missing child. The trucking industry is a hot spot for sex trafficking because truck stops are ideal places for prostitution as they have little law enforcement presence and close access to highways. Don’t intervene directly if you think you see trafficking taking place. Instead, gather as much information as you can, and then call 911 immediately if you think it’s an emergency or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Drivers can join several efforts that are already in place to support this important work.  Founded in 2012, The Truckers Missing Child Project uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to share information with truck drivers about missing children and Amber Alerts. The project’s secondary mission is to help end human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, and child abuse and child porn, which often exploit missing children. Truckers Against Trafficking began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries. The organization’s goals include saturating trucking and busing industries with anti-trafficking materials, partnering with law enforcement and government agencies to help investigate trafficking, and working with other partners fighting against trafficking.

For more information about missing persons in Washington State, please visit:

Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs:

Washington State Missing Persons web site

Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit:

Amber and Missing Person’s Alerts

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In Memory and Honor

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries held its Worker Memorial Day ceremony on April 28th to remember the workers who died in 2020 from job-related injuries and illnesses. The virtual ceremony included remarks from Gov. Jay Inslee, representatives from the Association of Washington Business, the Washington State Labor Council, the Washington Self-Insurers Association, and Tina Meyer, whose son Cody was working as a flagger when he was hit and killed by a distracted driver in 2015. This year’s ceremony entered 119 names into the Worker Memorial book, which is on permanent display in the agency’s headquarters’ in Tumwater. The the names of the fallen workers were read aloud with the traditional ringing of the bell after each one.

At Keep Trucking Safe, we honor those truck drivers who worked tirelessly to better the lives of their families and our community but tragically died as a result of doing their job. We remember the following truck drivers whose names were called among the fallen workers honored this year:

Robert Douglas Brown, 51, Died: May 23, 2017

Mr. Brown passed away from angiosarcoma of the liver after years of chemical exposure at Hanford.

Thomas B. Witte, 75, Died: February 27, 2020

Mr. Witte passed away from complications of a traumatic brain injury that he sustained from falling and hitting his head on cement.

Obituary

Johnathon Bert Frase, 44, Died: April 8, 2020

Mr. Frase died after years of asbestos exposure that resulted in stomach cancer. (Hanford Presumption).

Ivan Cardenas, 34, Died: June 29, 2020

Mr. Cardenas was driving his log truck on a forest service road when he lost control on a corner and the truck left the road and rolled over.

Obituary

Dale H. Johnson, 21, Died: November 7, 2020

Mr. Johnson died of injuries resulting from a truck cab fire.

Obituary

Donald “Don” Jerome Grigsby, 70, Died: November 27, 2020

Mr. Grigsby succumbed to complications resulting from an industrial related motor vehicle accident.

Obituary

Please add your remembrances in the comments. We have tried to find obituaries or news articles for all, but if you know of any we missed please add those too.Thank you to Randy Clark and the Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program for providing the data.

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Safety Stand-Down Week to Prevent Falls is May 3-7

Image source: NIOSH

Falls cause more hospitalizations, disabling injuries, and deaths in Washington State than any other workplace hazard. Falls injure about 1,600 workers in Washington each year, that’s about 4 per day. To raise awareness of fall prevention, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is partnering with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to sponsor “Safety Stand-Down” week from May 3-7. The annual event encourages employers to educate and train their workers to identify fall hazards and prevent injuries.

Falls in Trucking

Falls in the trucking industry account for about 20% of all injuries. Severe falls from heights rank first in average medical costs among all trucking injuries. The most common activities leading to falls among truck drivers include:

  • Entering or exiting the cab.
  • Falling off the back of the trailer or liftgate.
  • Falling off of a load.
  • Missing a step or getting a foot caught in a rung of ladder.
  • Ladders slipping out from underneath a worker.
  • Slips, trips, and falls around jobsites caused by debris, slippery steps, uneven surfaces, or inclement weather.

Fall injuries are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips to prevent falls for truck drivers:

Show your employees that you are committed to fall injury prevention by holding a Safety Stand-Down event in your own company. This could include short toolbox talks, refresher training, reviewing safety bulletins or watching a safety video.

Need resources for your event? L&I’s Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) project can help. TIRES offers free tip sheets, posters, interactive simulations, and true stories about injured truck drivers.

More information about Safety Stand-Down Week is available from L&I, OSHA, and NIOSH.

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Well, Well, Well, Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is Back

Image source; National Association for Health and Fitness

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month takes place every year in May to promote health and fitness in the workplace. When workers practice healthy lifestyles that include a nutritious diet and physical exercise, they lower their risk of injury and illness and increase productivity. For truck drivers, health and fitness are vital to safe vehicle operation and overall job performance. Healthy and fit drivers benefit trucking companies because they are in better physical and mental condition and are more likely to maintain CDL medical requirements.

Challenges for Truck Drivers

Maintaining a healthy diet and physical exercise routine can be challenging for truck drivers. Although truck drivers are always on the go, food options on travel routes often reflect food desert conditions. Truck stops, rest areas, convenience stores, break room vending machines, and fast food restaurants usually offer unhealthy processed foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Exercise is especially important for long-haul drivers who travel for extended distances without much physical activity. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that truck drivers lack adequate exercise and many see themselves as being out of shape. Poor diets and lack of exercise lead long-haul truck drivers to have obesity and morbid obesity two times higher than other workers.

Research shows that obesity negatively impacts job performance and can cause sleep apnea, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. A recent RAND study reports that nearly 60 percent of the United States population has one or more of these chronic conditions. Treatment costs for these conditions account for 90% of national health care expenditures. Another study found that combined annual costs of covered medical, sick day, short-term disability, and workers’ compensation claims for normal weight employees averaged $3,830 while costing $8,067 for morbidly obese employees.  

The Road to Better Health

A recent national survey of over 20,000 employees found that healthy workers were 16 to 27 percent less likely to have recent absenteeism. The research showed that higher job performance was more likely for: 

  • 25 percent of workers who ate healthy the entire day.
  • 20 percent of workers who ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables on four or more days in the past week.
  • 15 percent for workers who exercised for 30 or more minutes on three or more days a week.

Being on the road doesn’t mean that truck drivers have no chances to improve their health. Instead, it means that they must adapt to their mobile workplace by doing things a little differently than most other employees who work in one location. The tips below can help steer drivers in the right direction, but it is always important to consult a health care provider before making any dietary or lifestyle (exercise) changes, to make sure you can safely do so.

  • Shop at grocery stores and pack your own meals, snacks, and drinks instead of stopping at truck stops, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein and omega 3-fatty acids, and low in carbs, preservatives, and sodium.
  • Smaller portions will help you lose weight.
  • Eat smaller meals more often during the day to help steady your blood sugar level.
  • Drink more water instead of sugary drinks like soda.
  • Sleep in a quiet, comfortable place, and avoid large meals, spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and television before going to sleep.
  • Find a safe area near your truck to take a walk, stretch, do push-ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, or jump rope.
  • Locate truck stops that provide food and services that support a healthy lifestyle for truck drivers.
  • Quit using tobacco products, stimulants, and alcohol.

Click on the following links for more information and resources:

Keep Trucking Safe.org – Truck Driver Health Issues

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – Truck Driver Health

NIOSH – Total Worker Health Programs Virginia Tech Transportation Institute – Driving Healthy.org

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National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 26-30

As spring returns with warmer and longer days, roadway work zones will appear more often. That’s why it is time to remind ourselves as motorists that we share a responsibility in keeping work zones safe. National Work Zone Awareness Week is an educational campaign that invites government, business, safety professionals, and the public to help spread the word about work zone safety.

Although work zones are safer than ever, the risk of distracted drivers hitting road construction workers remains high. U.S. Department of Labor data indicates that vehicular incidents caused 444 roadway work zone fatalities across the nation between 2011 and 2018. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that around 680 highway work zone injuries occur each year in the state. In the past 10 years, officers in the state have cited inattention in 5,335 work zone crashes.

Go Orange for Work Zone Safety

Orange makes work zones safer as the color of hi-visibility vests, traffic signs, cones, and barrels. National Work Zone Awareness Week will celebrate Go Orange Day, Wednesday, April 28 to show support for work zone safety and the families of victims who were killed in work zones.

Move Over or Pay

Washington State’s “Move Over” law requires drivers to proceed with due caution, slow down and, if safe, move over or change lanes when approaching any authorized construction or maintenance vehicle or worker in a designated roadway work zone. The rules specifically describe work zones to include adjacent road lanes 200 feet before and after stationary or slow-moving construction, maintenance, solid waste, or utility service vehicles that display flashing or rotating lights that meet state requirements for vehicle warning light systems. Fines range from $136 for failing to move over to $1,000 for reckless endangerment offenses. Penalties can also include jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions. Following the rules of the road will keep Washington State’s roadway workers alive and safe.

Use the following tips to keep work zones safe:

  • Slow Down – follow the speed limit, it’s there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – road crews are out there working to keep our highways safe.
  • Pay Attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; put your phone away when driving.
  • Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early or take a detour if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

Use the links below get information and resources for your own National Work Zone Awareness Week event or training:

Washington State work zone traffic laws

RCW 46.61, Rules of the Road

RCW 46.61.212, Approaching emergency zones – Penalty – Violation

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Work zone and flagger safety

Asphalt worker safety

Keep Trucking Safe

No Distance, Know Pain tip sheet

Distracted Driving is Dangerous tip sheet

This is What Motorists See poster

National Work Zone Safety information Clearinghouse

Homepage

Washington State Department of Transportation

Work zone safety

Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

U.S. Federal Highway Administration

National Work Zone Awareness WeekWork Zone Management Program

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Get Ready for 2021 International Roadcheck

Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer inspecting trailer.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold its 33rd Annual International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement blitz from May 4-6. This year’s event will emphasize lighting and hours of service, which ranked 3rd and 1st among last year’s vehicle and driver out-of-service violations, respectively. According to CVSA President Sgt. John Samis of the Delaware State Police, “CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness. International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.” Previous Roadchecks have focused on driver requirements, hazardous materials, cargo securement, and tire safety.

During the 3-day event, commercial motor vehicle inspectors will be conducting 37-step North American Standard Level-1 Inspections of large trucks and buses at inspection sites, weigh stations, and roving patrol locations along major highways in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Inspectors will review driver operating credentials and hours-of-service logs, check seat belt usage, and look for alcohol and/or drug impairment. They will also check braking systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveshaft, fuel and exhaust systems, frames, lighting devices, steering and suspension, trailers, tires and wheels, and windshield wipers.

Drivers who pass inspections will get a CVSA decal for their truck. Those that fail will be placed out of service until their violations are corrected.

According to Captain Matt Couchmann of the Washington State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Safety Division, “The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has the goal of reducing the number of ‘at-fault’ commercial-vehicle-related collisions on state routes and interstates within the State of Washington.  A WSP strategy to achieve this goal is to participate in all federal commercial motor vehicle emphasis campaigns. International Roadcheck is one of these emphases.” 

The Washington State Patrol ranks the most common commercial vehicle inspection violations in the following order:

1. Lights

2. Load securement

3. Tires

4. Brake adjustments

5. Suspension

The top most common driver-related violations are, in order:

1. Size/width of vehicle

2. Failure to obey traffic control devices (left lane violations)

3. Speeding

4. Hours of service violations

5. Seatbelts

One of the best ways to prevent costly violations is to do a pre-trip inspection. Sharpen up your inspection skills by using the pre-trip simulation tool from KeepTruckingSafe.org.

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