Accurate inspection reports and regular maintenance are essential to optimal performance on the road.
Trucks spend insane amounts of time on the road. Suggesting these vehicles require a great deal of preventative maintenance is an understatement. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program introduced a strict set of requirements to rank how a motor carrier performs in comparison to other companies in the areas of inspections, violations, and crashes. CSA exists to make sure commercial motor vehicles and drivers are in compliance with safety regulations. For drivers, this means performance is king. CSA maintains a record of every carrier and the safety history of its drivers. Translation: the way you drive not only impacts you but it also has a significant affect on your company’s record.
Vehicle maintenance is one of CSA’s focus areas as it relates to negligent behavior. Routine preventive inspections can keep your fleet (legally) on the street. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections must be conducted and logged to avoid accidents, which can lead to injuries, fatalities, lawsuits, and one massive headache. CareersInGear.com is committed to keeping you moving, so we graciously put together a few friendly reminders to help you keep your truck in gear and your driving record clear.
Inspect your tires…and everything else!
Imagine driving the posted limit on the highway, and then all of a sudden—blam, blam, blam, boom! Your front right tire rapidly deteriorates to shreds forcing your truck into a life-threatening, wobbly skid across the highway while rubber chunks and debris litter the windshields of horrified drivers as they desperately attempt to swerve around the murky mess. The accident report comes in and finds you at fault all because that front right tire was not properly inflated. Way to go…now your job is in jeopardy and your carrier may be penalized. Question: Can this scenario be avoided? Short answer: yes and no. Truck tires require regular upkeep. Checking your tires for tread separation, cuts, leaks, and uneven wear should be a part of your pre-trip inspection and post-trip inspection. Pay attention to the proper tire inflation as specified by the manufacturer. Other things you must check include your tire rims, brakes, lights, mirrors, windshield wipers, steps, ladders, and more. The time it takes to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspection is always worth it. Keep copies of inspection reports and review for accuracy. Any discrepancies should be shared with the appropriate personnel. Although not all accidents can be avoided, prevention is a major player when it comes to on the road safety. Do everything in your power to make sure your truck is in the best shape possible.
Check your load before you hit the road!
Make sure your load is secure. Nightmare is the word that comes to mind when 80 boxes of porcelain dolls or even worse—50, 000 pounds of metal construction beams—come barreling out of a rig’s partially locked back door onto the highway. Going back to the whole inspection thing, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. All doors and latches are to be secured prior to heading out. If someone else is responsible for loading your truck, by all means double-check their work to make sure tie downs and cords are firmly in place. You are responsible for getting your load safely to its destination. Your chains, straps and binders need to support the entire weight of your load for the duration of your trip. Inspect your loads at regular intervals, the slightest shift could mean damaged goods. And by the way, please watch your weight…uh, more specifically, the weight of your freight. How much cargo your truck can carry depends on the tire size, the number of axles, and the distance between the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel. Unless you have an oversize or overweight permit, the U.S. legal weight limit is 80,000 pounds (40 tons). Don’t weigh yourself down with an overweight violation. Such infractions are noted on your CSA driving history. Aside from administrative woes, an unsecure load or weight violation can lead to accidents and loss of life. Words of wisdom: Check yourself before you wreck yourself…really.
If it’s broke, please fix it!
Mechanical problems are one of the common causes of truck accidents. Don’t just clear the code history and go about your delivery schedule. Ignoring something small could turn into a big issue later. If you suspect your truck has a mechanical problem or your inspection report indicates something is wrong, go through the proper channels to report the incident. As a driver you should be well-trained in basic troubleshooting and able to detect maintenance needs. Your company mechanic or auto technician is responsible for diagnosing operational issues and making needed repairs. Failure to perform proper maintenance can be disastrous. Refuse to drive any truck that you believe is not in driving condition. Federal and state laws will back you on this. Additionally, the burden will fall on your shoulders if you get into an accident. You can also get points on your driving record and possibly lose your job as well as your CDL. And once again…your driving record determines your employment status. Nuff said.
For a detailed list of FMCSA preventive maintenance and inspection procedures, please visit:
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