Truckers News

May 2011

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SMART DRIVING MAX KVIDERA Fit to Be Tied (Down) Veteran haulers go well beyond federal regulations in securing loads latbed hauler Linda Nodland recalls transporting a load of aluminum material used occasion- ally in place of two-by-fours in con- struction. She was concerned about bending the metal with too-tight straps, resulting in a loose strap soon after she departed Spo- kane, Wash., on a cross-state trip. “Every rest area I stopped and re- secured the load across the state,” she says. F Owner-operator Bryan Smith uses cut-up cloth straps as edge protectors to protect cargo from securement damage. Securing a load can be fraught with challenges. Each load requires a different assortment of chains, straps, pads, blocking, edge protec- tors and tarps. While the Federal CARGO SCORING The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Cargo-related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improve- ment Category (BASIC) uses violations for cargo secure- ment to measure carrier and driver safety performance. If a cargo securement vio- lation is recorded in a road- side inspection report, the violation will go into the car- rier’s Cargo-related BASIC in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system. The driver’s CSA file will be noted if the driver could have pre- vented the violation. A cargo violation carries a valuation in the carrier and driver Safety Measurement Systems with severity and time weighting. Severity weightings are graded on the violation’s potential for crash causation and range from 1 to 10, with an unse- cure load getting a 10. Time weighting refers to how recent the violation took place. Violations remain in the carrier’s data for 24 months and in the driver’s for 36 months. Violations that happened in the last six months carry a time 34 TRUCKERS NEWS MAY 2011 weighting of 3 for carriers, between six and 12 months ago a time weighting of 2 and down to 1 for events that occurred more than a year prior. A violation’s value is cal- culated by multiplying the severity weighting by the time weighting. If a driver was placed out of service, the severity weighting is increased by 2. For carriers with five or more vehicle inspections or one that picked up a viola- tion for cargo securement, the value for all violations is totaled and then divided by time-weighted relevant inspections. From this the carrier is assigned a BASIC Measure, which can be compared with other car- riers in its peer group. A carrier’s peer group is deter- mined by number of relevant vehicle inspections. A similar scoring process is used for drivers. Violation values assigned to the driver are totaled and then divided by the time-weighted rele- vant inspections. Driver peer groups are based on the number of driver inspections and then percentile ranked. Driver BASIC Measures range from a low of 0 to 100. At press time, pending changes to the Cargo- related BASIC, the carrier SMS results in that BASIC were still being withheld from public view. Driver measures are not avail- able to the public, but drivers can check verac- ity of the inspections and violations associated with their CDLs via the FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program driver reports. Visit Motor Carrier Safety Administra- tion imposes standards for inspect- ing and securing cargo, most truck- ers who handle primarily flatbed or open-deck loads say the federal regu- lations are the minimum for what is usually necessary to stay safe and legal and keep the load intact. “We start with the federal regu- lations and go be- yond that to what- ever I feel com- fortable with,” says Nodland, a driver with Leavitt’s Freight Service for five years and a mostly flatbed operator for more than 30 years. Ed Harmer, a driver for Wray’s Trucking, says he routinely After a break, Linda Nodland of Leavitt’s Freight Service checks all of the securements on her load to make sure they’re tight and not tampered with. double-straps. “I always oversecure a load,” he says. “You can never have too much securement.” Tie down with the expectation that you may face an unforeseen driving event, such as hard brak- ing, says William Harding, supervi- sor of claims and legal compliance for Fikes Truck Line. “You may have to slide all 18 wheels on your truck, so you have to tie every load down with that in mind,” he says. “When we have a failure it’s usually in the amount of securement.” Harmer says it’s key is to be aware of how the load rests on the trailer and to know the weight and length. With a 20,000-lb. load, you’ll need at least four chains, with secure- ment at least every 10 feet. “Height is important because if it catches the wind or is top-heavy and you hit a COURTESY MIKE BURLEY MAX KVIDERA

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