Category: Uncategorized

USDA Issues New Guidance For Hemp Transportation

USDA-Issues-New-Guidance-for-Hemp-Transportation

Truck drivers can’t seem to get a clear answer on whether or not  transporting hemp across state lines is legal? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued guidance on this topic, rather than a law. The USDA’s recent guidance states that nothing in the 2018 Farm Bill (the bill that hemp growers currently operate under) prohibits the interstate commerce of hemp. This is to say that truck drivers can indeed haul hemp for the purpose of interstate commerce.

The USDA, however, says that it lacks the authority to issue a true regulation that thoroughly protects truck drivers who haul hemp. What does that mean for you? Truck drivers should always have their paperwork, including the THC level test results for the hemp products they are hauling, with them in the event that they are pulled over and/or inspected.

Although the USDA supports the interstate transportation of legal hemp, it has yet to provide official shipping documents that could help truck drivers avoid being subject to detention by law enforcement when crossing state lines.

“At this time, the USDA recommends that transporters carry a copy of the producer’s license or authorization, as well as any other information the governing state or Indian tribe recommends or requires that will validate that the transporter is transporting legally grown hemp,” the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said in a Jan. 19 Federal Register post. “the USDA is not adding transportation paperwork requirements to this rule because it does not have jurisdiction over common carriers or other types of transporters.”

Since the USDA is not providing the official paperwork, they suggest that truck drivers carry legal documentation before crossing state lines with hemp products. These can include:

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency laboratory test result (or other THC content test results)
  • Contact information of the load’s buyer and seller
  • A copy of the hemp grower/producer’s license
  • An invoice or bill of lading

Though there is a lack of USDA documents for the transport of hemp, what is clear is that truck drivers can legally transport hemp as long as it is absent of high levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol (the part that gets users high). Cannabis with a THC level exceeding 0.3% is considered marijuana, which remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance regulated by DEA.

The interstate transport of hemp is legal, but, due to the lack of official documentation from the USDA (or the Department of Transportation,) there are still potential risks for truck drivers hauling hemp.

Since hemp is so similar looking and can even smell like THC-laden marijuana, it is understandable from law enforcement’s point of view why a load of hemp could be delayed or seized in order to test it for THC levels.

A law enforcement officer who pulls over a truck driver hauling hemp does not currently have a way to test for THC content like a lab does. That is why it is crucial to get ahead of any suspicion and carry all the paperwork you have access to in order to prove the legality of your load as we await further provisions from the USDA.

 

Cold Weather Accessories For Your Commercial Truck

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When harsh winter weather is expected, it can be challenging for drivers that don’t have the proper cold weather accessories for their truck. With a little preparation you can ensure that you stay safe and comfortable wherever you’re driving. We’ve compiled four of the best products for winter driving that truck drivers everywhere should keep at hand.

  1. Winterfront

As a truck driver, it’s in the job description to get your cargo where it needs to be on time. Regardless of the season you’re in.  During cold weather, a winter front will not make your truck start any better.  It will help increase engine temperature while your truck idles or drives down the road by blocking cold air from getting to your engine. It allows your engine to operate at a normal temperature and will make your heater more effective as well.

  1. Bunk Warmer

Sometimes you’ll have to spend  the night in the cab of your truck. There are few things worse than being overly cold while trying to sleep and a bunk warmer can help. The traditional method is to leave your engine running all night as you sleep, but that is both noisy and expensive. A bunk warmer is far more efficient. It is essentially an electric blanket that’s specifically designed for truck cab beds. A simple purchase like this will save money in the long run and the bunk warmer allows you to sleep warmly and comfortably.

  1. AutoSock or Tire Chains

There’s nothing worse than being stuck and having to wait for help. You can take care of your own truck (and yourself) by investing in something to help your tires make it through snow and ice. Especially when you have been parked overnight, you can use either AutoSocks or tire chains to get traction in the snow and ice. Either of these two can be game changers that put you ahead of your unprepared competitors as you enter into snow and icy conditions.

  1. Reflective Coat

More than anything, you need to keep yourself safe. Winter conditions can severely limit visibility. During a snowstorm, blizzard conditions, or even just a dark and cold night, it can be difficult for others to see you. If you’ve been stuck on the side of the road without proper safety equipment, you’ll know how scary it can be. Be prepared and have a reflective coat in your cab in case you need it. Insulated reflective coats also double as much needed sources of warmth.

Investing in the above accessories can help make your life easier, should you encounter trying winter conditions. You can keep safe and warm with a little pre-planning. The cold weather makes truck driving harder, but it doesn’t have to make it impossible. Get these  accessories sooner than later and make your life easier during the cold weather.

 

Health-share vs Traditional Health Insurance

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Truck drivers have a statistically high risk job. The combination of sleep deprivation, long hours, and tight schedules means that truck drivers can be susceptible to accidents that, under normal driving conditions, might not happen. It’s a high stress job and working conditions are often hard on the body. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that approximately 70% of truck drivers have at least one serious health condition. A preexisting condition, plus a high risk job, means that less health insurance companies will cover you. The companies that will cover you are also going to charge you more than the general public. On top of all of this, the average age of a truck driver is 55, which is an age where the body begins needing more medical attention than ever. In short, getting a good health insurance plan for truck drivers is not an easy task.

Faced with the prospect of being denied by health insurance providers, or paying hefty premiums, what can you do? What is the best health insurance option for truck drivers that want to keep it affordable? There are multiple options and we’ll walk you through them.

Do Truck Drivers Qualify For Medicaid?

It depends on how much you make. If you’re just starting out as a new truck driver and you make below $30,150, then Medicaid may be the best option for you. It just might not be the best long term option for you. The average truck driver’s salary is around $43,464 per year. With this being well over Medicaid’s salary cap, a career truck driver cannot depend on Medicaid for their health insurance needs. So, for most truck drivers, the ones who want to make a career out of driving,  Medicaid is not going to be a viable option.

What Other Health Insurance Options Are Out There That Are Affordable?

Truck drivers can take advantage of something called a health-share plan that can be an alternative to traditional health insurance. This can make driving a truck a more appealing career choice by making your healthcare more affordable. Essentially, a health-share plan works in the same way as a traditional plan would whenever you go to pay for healthcare. However, health-share plans are uniquely suited to the truck driving industry.

Your payments (or premiums) into a health-share plan are going to be lower than you would have to pay for traditional health insurance. Not only that, but your hard-earned money isn’t going to a faceless insurance company. Your premium goes toward helping other truck drivers when they need the money for their healthcare needs. Then, when you have a health care need, it’s your turn to take money out of the account.

Under the health-share system, your payments made into the plan are placed into an escrow account. When a healthcare need arises, your claim will be paid for through the funds available in the escrow account.

Finally, you can depend on health-share plans acting as most other insurance options. Health-share plans offer visits to the doctor, discounts on prescriptions, and preventative care programs.

FMCSA Announces Proposal to Amend the Vision Standard For Truck Drivers

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A new proposal was announced in January 2021 suggesting a new vision standard for CDL (Commercial Drivers’ License) qualification. The alternative vision standard would make it easier for those with vision deficiencies to both retest for their CDL and receive a new CDL without seeking an exemption.

With the current vision standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those who do not meet the vision requirements to physically qualify for their CDL are sent through an exemption process that often takes months. The process, along with taking a good deal of time, also requires a substantial amount of paperwork. With the newly proposed standards, the time and paperwork required to qualify for the exemption will be a thing of the past. As a result, the barriers of entry in the trucking industry will be greatly reduced.

Currently, there are 2,566 truck drivers who hold an exemption for vision reasons with the FMCSA. Along with eliminating the exemption requirement for new CDL applicants, this new proposal will cover current truck drivers. So, those 2,566 drivers currently holding exemptions will no longer have to re-test and maintain their exemption status. Additionally, current drivers who may experience changes in vision will not have to seek exemption should their eyesight fall below the standard. This helps prevent interruptions in employment, as veteran drivers who test below the standard would be required to obtain their exemption status before returning to work.

This new vision standard is making big waves in the trucking industry for its obvious benefits:

  • Increases the pool of qualified applicants in this high-demand industry
  • Reduces hours of time previously qualified drivers spend unable to work
  • Alleviates pressure and overtime hours that overworked drivers currently face as a new pool of potential drivers becomes available

These benefits don’t come without their downsides and doubts though. Those who oppose or are cautious about the new FMCSA proposal cite safety as their main concern. Do we want to lower vision standards that may possibly put both truck drivers and civilians at great personal risk? Are the current overtime conditions more or less hazardous to the driver’s health? With studies that support the fact that overextension, lack of sleep, and repetitive visual habits can all contribute to vision loss or deficiency, an assumption can be made that vision loss and industry conditions are related?

The FMCSA is hearing questions like these and more from their announcement date in January through March 15th.

To view the proposal yourself, visit the following link:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/12/2020-28848/qualifications-of-drivers-vision-standard

If you have thoughts about this and want to submit comments on the proposal, which is identified by docket number FMCSA-2019-0049, you can submit your thoughts through the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
Fax: (202) 493-2251
Mail: Docket Operations, U.S. Department Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001
Hand Delivery: Docket Operations, U.S> Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5p.m Monday through Friday except Federal holidays.

Change in Hours of Service

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As of September 29, 2020, there have been four major updates to the hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers. These rules include changing how long-haul truck drivers are required to take breaks, lengthening how far short-haul drivers can travel in one day, unfavorable driving conditions, and the sleeper berth provision. The rules remain focused on highway safety but give more flexibility for drivers.

The four main Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updates to Hours of Service Rules (HOS) include:

  • The expansion of the short-haul exception from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles this change also extends the permitted work hours from 12 hours to 14 hours. The motor carrier is still required to keep track of the driver’s time in, time out, and total hours per day.

    The record must also include how many hours the driver has worked for the previous seven days. The carrier must keep these records for six months. Although records are not required to be kept  in  the truck, it is recommended in case the driver were to get pulled over and law enforcement requested them.

  • An increase in the driving window during unfavorable driving conditions by up to two hours. This updated rule allows the driver to have discretion and has focused on the fact that the driver must make the assessment after their last qualifying break.

    Unfavorable driving conditions include snow, ice, fog, sleet, etc. along with unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known or could not have reasonably been known to a driver before the start of the duty day or before starting to drive after a qualifying rest break or sleeper berth period, as well as a motor carrier before they dispatched the driver. Drivers must also make notes that include details about the unfavorable driving conditions in their log or ELD.

  • A requirement of a 30-minute break after driving a cumulative eight hours instead of on-duty time, this rule also allows anon-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.
  • Changing the sleeper berth exception allowing drivers to meet the 10-hour minimum of off-duty requirement by spending 7 of those 10 hours, instead of 8, in the berth, and a minimum off-duty period of no less than 2 hours spent inside or outside of the berth, provided the two periods equal at least 10 hours neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

Keeping up-to-date on the Hours of Services changes is very important. These changes allow you to comply with current regulations . The HOS rules are created to keep drivers safe and have been revised to focus on the input that was given from drivers and carriers. It is your job as a driver to read and understand the new, revised rules, so you can be at your best on the road.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

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Winter months are upon us and it is time to make sure you double down on making sure safety is your number one priority while traveling. When you have a deadline to make a delivery, it’s easy to rush and not pay enough attention to your surroundings In addition, winter brings along extra stress, cold temperatures, ice, and snow, all of which can make driving even more dangerous.

It takes a lot of skill as a truck driver to maneuver in winter weather conditions. Having the knowledge to implement preventative safety skills is what differentiates a professional driver from the rest. They know how to make good decisions, when it is not safe to drive, and when to take it slow. Here are some tips for winter driving that can be valuable to the professional truck driver.

Driving Tips

  1. Slow down. Many accidents happen due to excessive speed. It may be legal to drive the speed limit, but when there are snow and ice covered roads, it is usually too fast. Take your time and slow down.
  2. Leave plenty of space. Make sure there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front of and beside you when possible.
  3. Do not travel as part of a pack. Many times traffic moves in packs on the highway. Try to find a way to move away from the pack safely, so you can travel alone with your goal being to make sure there is plenty of room around your truck.
  4. Never push beyond the limits of your equipment. Make sure you understand what your equipment can handle. It is one of the best ways to stay safe.
  5. Stay parked. Being nervous while driving in bad weather is normal. If you feel nervous, stay parked, call your dispatch, and reschedule your delivery appointment.
  6. Keep a bag of kitty litter in your truck. When your tires are warm, they can change the snow you parked on into ice. If you find yourself stuck, kitty litter under your tires can give you the extra traction needed to get going.
  7. Warm up the windshield. Turn your defroster on high for about one minute to get the glass warmed up prior to cleaning it with fluid.
  8. Check the tail lights. Check your tail lights and license plate when you make a stop and make sure they are clean. Something as simple as a tail wind or draft can cause them to be covered.
  9. Use good, solid judgment. If the weather gets so bad that you need to get off the road, try to find someplace to get off the road safely and wait to get back on the road until the conditions have improved.
  10. Do not pull off onto the shoulder of the road. Stopping on the side of the road in low visibility situations can be dangerous. Other drivers might mistake your reason for being on the shoulder, which could result in them slamming into the back of your truck.
  11. Make sure everything is ready to go. Check to make sure your defroster and heater are working properly. Also check the wipers, wiper motor, and lights. Top off the washer fluid, drain moisture from the air tanks, and make sure your brakes are adjusted. Clean all windows and mirrors before leaving.
  12. Keep fuel tanks full.  Full tanks provide extra weight/traction for your drive tires.  Having a full tank also reduces the amount of condensation that can form on the inside of your tank, this reduces the likelihood of accumulating ice in your fuel system.  Lastly in the event you are stranded those full tanks could save your life by providing you with heat for several days.

It may seem like a hassle and time consuming to follow these tips for driving safely during the winter months, but they will help keep you and fellow travelers safe. . Direct Freight Services want to make sure you and your load are safe at all times. Check out the truck stop locations on our website to see if there is a stop on your route that will benefit you on your travels.

A Guide to Truck Wheel Polishing

a-guide-to-wheel-polishing

As a truck driver you are proud of your big rig and you have every right to be. You spend most of your days and nights in it like it is your home. Just like your home, you want your truck to look spectacular with the latest gadgets and for it to outshine all the others. However, you may find it hard to find a time to have a professional clean it up after it has been on the road for a while. It may take days or weeks before someone else could do it, and with your schedule, you may not know the next time you will be home. Therefore, you may want to think about purchasing your own equipment to make your truck look shiny and presentable.

One area of your truck that may need more attention than other areas are the wheels. Your wheels go through a lot out on the road. They encounter rocks, mud, water, snow, ice, etc., all of which can cause them to become dirty with scratches. Zephyr is a well-known company that sells custom polishing products. They have been around for 30 years and are the leading, globally trusted brand name in the Heavy Duty truck market. Zephyr has all the tools you will need to keep your truck’s wheels up to par. Visit them at www.zephyrpro40.com to check out all of the products you will need.

Here is a go-to guide on how to polish your wheels when they need some tender loving care.

Safety First

– The first thing you will want to do is make sure you have all of the protective equipment and gear. You will be using airway buffing wheels which requires the use of safety flanges. These flanges are molded from high-density composite nylon and are lightweight but as strong as aluminum. They must be secured to each side of the buffing wheel and are mandatory when using airway buffing wheels.

– Your personal protective gear needs to consist of ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, and most importantly, respiratory protection.

Supplies Needed

  • Variable speed sander/grinder 0-6,000 rpm
  • Safety flanges and personal protective gear
  • Airway buffing wheels: yellow, green, and white
  • Compound/Rouge: tripoli, moss green, and blue moon
  • Zephyr Pro 40
  • Microfiber towels
  • Zephyr Pro 50 Eliminator

 Primary Cutting: 3200rpm

First you will use the 8” yellow mill treated buffing wheel and tripoli compound. To begin, you will need to break in the buffing wheel by raking it and fraying the edges. This also allows it to more easily take the compound. Don’t forget, the buffer spins counter clockwise so be careful when applying the compound. Next, hold the bar of rouge on the buffing wheel working it from one edge to the other for about 3 seconds. Now, break your wheel down into sections. Begin with the face of the wheel and work your way out to the edge. Go left to right, bottom to top, with nice even passes. Don’t apply too much pressure. Instead, let the grinder spin freely and take your time, making sure you make even passes and overlapping each previous pass. Move up slowly and push your black line of compound gradually forward. Once the black line starts to fade, you will need to take all of the old burnt-on compound off of the pad and reapply more, then repeat. This is the most important step in the polishing process. If done right, you will have laid the groundwork for a striking mirror finish and the rest is easy.

Secondary Cutting: 3200rpm

You should now have a shiny surface with a light haze and what looks like hash marks. Don’t worry, this is normal. Now it is time to get the green buffing wheel and green moss compound. Rake your wheel just like before and apply compound to the wheel. Once again, start from the inside and work your way to the edge. The green moss rouge will give your wheels that high luster, show quality shine. In between steps, take a microfiber towel and apply some Pro 50 Eliminator on to the wheels. This will take away any leftover compound from around the holes. Leave the Pro 50 Eliminator on after the secondary stage. This will let you see exactly where your polishing line is as well as cleaning all of the green rouge off before moving on to the final step.

Final Finish: 1600-1800rpm

Finally, grab the white buffing wheel and the blue moon compound. Just like before, start from the inside and work your way out to the edges. This will break down any buffing lines left and blend it all together. If you do all three steps just like this, then the result should be a metal, flawless mirror.

Sealing in the Shine

Now it’s time to highlight that super shine you just created by sealing and protecting it. Using a microfiber towel and the Zephyr Pro 40, fold the towel into quarters and apply about a half-dollar size amount on it. Wipe down the wheel by going with the grain, applying it nice and evenly over the entire wheel. Let it dry and use a fresh microfiber towel to remove it. This repels water and road grime that your wheels may catch out on the road. Use the Pro 40 metal polish for maintenance thereafter.

It may not always be easy for you to find time to polish your own wheels or other parts of your truck, so running through a truck wash may be a good idea to hold you over until you can find time. Direct Freight Services provides helpful trucking links, including truck washes, that you can checkout under the more services tab.

The Best Top Stacks for Your Exhaust

the-best-top-stacks-for-your-exhaust

Making your truck look good sometimes means you will have to add on aftermarket parts. A lot of trucks do not come with all of the nice chrome accessories or high-quality parts. Replacing existing parts and customizing your truck can make it look and operate better. Choosing the best accessories for your truck should be something you take into serious consideration. You want the best so you do not have to continuously replace them. You want high-quality products from a manufacturer that you can trust and come back to time and time again. One of those accessories that you should spend time researching in order to pick the right one for your needs is a top stack. According to sales and reviews, there are two companies that consumers believe carry the best truck exhaust stacks and who are known for their high-quality products-Dynaflex and Lincoln Chrome. Before doing any type of research or shopping, you need to measure your exhaust so you can properly fit the top stacks. Then it will be time to choose your stack.

Measuring Your Exhaust

You will need to measure the internal and external diameter of your exhaust. The internal diameter is the inside of the pipe, which gives you the measurement for the other pipe you would fit into it. The external diameter gives you the measurement for another pipe that you would fit around it and measures the pipe itself. Here is a simple how-to guide.

  • Internal: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, not including the pipe, just the hole.
  • External: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, including the pipe.

Choosing Top Stacks

Choosing a top stack may be more overwhelming and difficult than you think. There are so many options and variances between each one. Make sure you think about the overall look you are wanting along with the current look of your truck. For instance, if you are gradually adding new parts, then you will want some unity between old and new so your truck still looks good throughout the process.

Company #1: Dynaflex

Dynaflex manufactures products that are made in the USA. They are also known for being the manufacturers of the Original Monster Stacks and have been in business since 1972. Their focus is to produce exhaust systems for heavy duty vehicles. Dynaflex is known for having a deluxe, unique line up of products featuring nine styles and being of very high-quality. Customers believe that Dynaflex produces consistent products, is top in innovation, and agree that by using a Dynaflex part, you will grab attention and turn heads. The only downside to Dynaflex is that their products are some of the most expensive on the market. However, sometimes you get what you pay for, and if lasting, high-quality products are what you want, then Dynaflex may be the brand for you.

Company #2: Lincoln Chrome

Lincoln Chrome is known for their high-quality chrome exhaust systems and accessories. They have been in business since 1952 and consider chrome to be their specialty. Lincoln Chrome also focuses on the heavy duty truck market and makes seven different styles of part. They are known as a premium product brand who makes high quality products and produces long-lasting durable products that look good. All of their products are made in Nebraska and are slightly less expensive than Dynaflex, many are a plus for many consumers.

Choosing the right top stack for your truck may be overwhelming but it should also be a fun time for you. Afterall, your truck is like your home, spending many hours driving in it, so you want it to reflect who you are. You really can’t go wrong with either brand. It’s all about finding the right part that suits your needs and your truck. Once you have your truck the way you want it and are ready to get out on the road, contact Direct Freight Services so we can help you find the next load to haul.

Corona Virus Updates

coronavirus-updates-for-truckers

It’s safe to say that 2020, the year of perfect vision, has not gone as expected- we have entered a new world of masks, medicine, and isolation. The rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide in the early Spring put much of us in between a rock and a hard place, but it is important to remember that there is still hope, and that we are going to get through this together.

COVID-19 In The United States

COVID-19 is a disease caused by just one type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), dubbed the novel coronavirus, meaning it is the newest one discovered. Coronaviruses have been responsible for epidemics in the past including, SARS and MERS, but none have spread to this global scale before. This is because this strain of coronavirus is quite infective, meaning it’s very good at spreading from person to person- it is spread through airborne droplets.

It came as a shock to everyone when countries began rapidly shutting down as COVID-19 cases multiplied after the discovery of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States occurred in January when travelers arrived from Wuhan, but it didn’t really start gaining ground until March when a nationwide call for isolation was released.

Since then, the United States has been locked down, but some states are working on slowly reopening to return to normalcy without causing a huge influx of cases. Soon we will be able to return to the lives we had before COVID-19, and we will return stronger and wiser for the wear.

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy during a pandemic such as this is not limited to avoiding contracting the virus, it encompasses all areas of health. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is crucial during such stressful times.

The most-reported way of keeping yourself and everyone else safe is by socially distancing by at least 6 feet from others and wearing masks. Social distancing keeps you away from people who may be carrying diseases, and masks block particles that might contain the virus from blowing into the air and infecting others. Masks and social distancing are inconvenient, but they are what research has shown to be effective right now.

Now that masks are out of the way, it is crucial that you pay attention to your mental health. Stress and isolation are not a good combination for the mental health of anyone, especially those who are predisposed to mental illness. However, there are things you can do to alleviate the ill-effects of quarantine: picking up a new hobby such as learning an instrument, woodworking, reading, or painting can all be a good place to start to combat boredom and increase your productivity!

Physical health is also extremely important, so make sure that you are exercising regularly to the best of your ability. You can accomplish this by taking walks, hiking, fishing, or playing golf! If these options are not available to you, then you can work out at home using your own plans or finding resources online. 10-minute High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are a fun and low-impact way to stay healthy that have recently gained popularity!

Staying Connected

Staying connected is one of the most important ways to stay healthy during this pandemic- it’s so important that it has its own heading. We can have an incredible reach with the technology that is right at the edge of our fingertips- people love being connected, and it’ll make you happier as well. Staying connected is easy once you start, call your family, text your friends and coworkers, and you could even video chat with all of them!

Final Thoughts

2020 may still be the year of perfect vision as we learn more about ourselves and the world which we live in. As we return to normalcy, we should remember to be kinder, more compassionate, and more optimistic than ever before because we have the power to make the best of our situations if we try.

We will beat this pandemic, but right now the best thing you can do is make sure that you and the important people in your life are happy and healthy. Try to learn all that you can about yourself and others so that you can emerge from this time as an even better person than you were before!

Tips for Passing Roadside Inspections

 

tips-for-passing-roadside-inspections

No matter how long you have been a truck driver and no matter how new or old your truck is, there will come a time when you will have to encounter a roadside inspection. It is easy for some individuals to become worked up and panic; however, there is no need for that to happen. Just remember, you are not the only one who gets inspected. Everyone will be inspected at some point during the year, so take a deep breath and try to remember the following tips to help get through it, get back on the road quickly, and without a citation.

  1. Always Perform a DVIR. Performing pre-trip inspections before you hit the road is always a good idea. Following a Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) can help you check off all the right boxes on your truck. This report includes checking your battery, brakes, clutch, defrost, exhaust, horn, lights, mirrors, safety equipment, tires, and windows. These items are just a few of the things you should check. Make sure you also pay close attention during your own inspection. Attention to detail will pay off during a roadside inspection and it’s also a safer way to drive. 
  2. Review the Annual Vehicle Inspection Report. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Annual Vehicle Inspection Report outlines all of the same things that will be checked if you have to go through a Level I Roadside Inspection. It is a good idea to review this report before your area’s Department of Transportation inspection period every summer. 
  3. Keep Your Truck Clean. Make sure your truck, tires, wheels, and interior are as clean as possible. Doing this may be the key to a fast inspection, as it lets the inspectors know that you are a responsible and detail-oriented driver. It also keeps everything visible to the inspectors for a fast walk-a-around.
  4. Know Where Your Emergency Supplies Are. Make sure you always know where your roadside emergency warning triangles and fire extinguisher are. Knowing where these items are at all times will not only help you pass a roadside inspection, but it will also help you in different situations. 
  5. Don’t Rush. If for some reason you get waved in for a closer look during an inspection, don’t be in a hurry. If you decide to rush the inspection, you could make the inspector angry. Instead, pull in slowly, follow the signs, and watch out for foot traffic in the inspection area. 
  6. No Radar Detectors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not allow radar detectors; therefore, it would be wise not to have one in your cab. 
  7. Make Sure Your Dog is Secure. If your dog is traveling with you, make sure the first thing you do after you get parked is to put them in a secure dog carrier, especially if they are aggressive or nervous. This will not only help the inspector do their job, but it will also keep your dog safe from traffic. 
  8. Admit to Any Known Problems. Tell the truth about any problems you may know about and could cause further inspection. It is possible the inspector might waive the citations if you have shown that you know about the issue, discovered it recently, and are working toward getting it fixed. 
  9. Know How to Work Your ELD. The inspector will ask to look at your Electronic Logging Device (ELD), so be sure you understand how to email your e-logs to the inspector. This will help speed up the inspection process so you can get back on the road. 
  10. Have Your Documents in Order. Make sure you have your documentation organized, in order, and easily accessible in a binder or folder. You will need to have your driver’s license, registration, vehicle insurance, Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Record of Duty Status, annual inspection records, hazardous materials paperwork, IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) card, and permit credentials. 
  11. Carry Extra Equipment. It is important to carry plenty of equipment for securing loads. Loads that are not secured correctly are one of the most notorious reported problems during inspections. You’ll never be sorry that you packed extra tarps and straps. 

 

The best advice any truck driver could get for passing an FMCSA Roadside Inspection is to simply be prepared. Making sure you create a habit of prioritizing the following items every day could save you from getting citations or causing delays and Out-of-Service Orders.

  • Brakes that are out of adjustment or other brake issues
  • Tires that are under-inflated or too worn
  • Securing of loads
  • Damage to lights
  • Windshield damage or obstruction
  • Oil leaks

Direct Freight wants to make sure that your trips are worth the drive and you and your load stay safe. Here at Direct Freight Services, we can help you find the right load for you. We also offer services that can make your drives easier, such as truck stop locations, mileage calculator, and trucking links. To learn more about our services, visit us at directfreight.com.