CHAPTER 30

SAFETY AND PERSONAL HEALTH OF A TRUCK DRIVER

 

Introduction

 

You will get an overview of three crucial facets of commercial driving in this chapter. You must take care of your health, be aware of safety procedures, and comprehend the variety of elements that make up your daily work environment to excel in this line of employment.

 

Personal Health and Driving

 

Life on the road can lead to a lot of bad habits including:

 

  • Minimal or no exercise;

 

  • Unhealthy eating habits;

 

  • Stress;

 

  • Over consumption of caffeine;

 

  • Smoking cigarettes.

 

It's crucial to build healthy routines in your day, such as eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Keep in mind that a healthy driver is a cautious one.

 

Physical qualification requirements — To operate a commercial motor vehicle, a driver must meet the physical criteria established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) Part 391 lists the regulations, which one must bear in mind are the minimum requirements. Making physical improvements can benefit your job performance, endurance, mental health, and long-term success in this field.

 

Physical condition — Although there is no clear link, general well-being, physical fitness, and a positive outlook may all lead to fewer workplace accidents and illnesses. A person who is fit and healthy and has a positive outlook is less likely to become sick or injured when working or off the job. A healthy employee who is in good health can concentrate better on their work, their surroundings, and what they are doing, making them a safer employee. Additionally, you just feel better when you are healthy.

 

Diet — Your chosen diet is the best place to start if you want to feel better and become healthier. Try to follow a "balanced diet," which is defined as a selection of the correct foods that enables you to get the vitamins, minerals, and protein required by your body for health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests a range of foods to get the proper number of calories and the required nutrients to maintain a healthy weight.

 

To practice healthful eating habits at work, avoid these common nutrition pitfalls while on the road:

 

  • The morning doughnut and coffee;

 

  • Lunch at a fast-food restaurant; and

 

  • The afternoon snack break of a candy bar.

 

Replace these bad eating habits with good ones, like keeping fruits and vegetables handy for munching in the morning or afternoon, and eating a healthy lunch.

 

Vitamins —You may need to take nutritional supplements, such as vitamins or minerals, even if you consume a healthy diet. You may need such supplements, particularly if you are watching your weight or are not eating as many fruits and vegetables as the FDA suggests. If you believe you could benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements, speak with your doctor.

 

Water — Water is a key ingredient to health and wellness. You need water to process the nutrients you eat, cleanse your body of toxins and impurities, and replenish you after exercise or physical exertion, especially in extreme heat.

 

Typically, you should have eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily (you can get some of this water through the milk and other drinks and fruits and vegetables). Grab a big glass of cool water to sip on rather than buy a cup of coffee or a drink. You can get all the water you need by drinking a little amount every day.

 

For working in extreme heat, you will need to drink at least 8 ounces of cool water every 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Exercise — A driver seldom gets the chance to travel throughout any given day. Most drivers find it challenging to join a gym or maintain regular workout routines due to their inconsistent schedules. You may do the following workouts while relaxing on a tractor seat or sleeper. As frequently as you feel comfortable, repeat them three to four times daily. They are short, simple, and great for new exercisers:

 

  1. Crunches — These These may be completed in the sleeper and take up very little room. Cross your arms across your chest while on your back such that your left hand is touching your right shoulder and vice versa. Now raise your shoulders 6 to 8 inches off the mattress while maintaining a straight back. Repeat while gently reentering. Do whatever many you are comfortable with. Crunches are excellent for building up the muscles in your lower back and abdomen.

  2. Knees to chest — Again, lying on your back, bring your left knee up to your chest and hold it with your hands for 5-10 seconds. Repeat with your right knee. This is good for stretching and strengthening back and buttocks muscles.

  3. Shoulder rolls — This and the following exercises are designed to strengthen your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles and can be done while sitting behind the wheel. Roll your shoulders up, backwards and down as far as you can comfortably move them. Repeat 10-12 times, then reverse your direction.

  4. Shoulder extension — Bring your shoulders up and backwards to their fullest extent. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds while tightening your upper back and neck muscles. Repeat 3-5 times.

  5. Neck rotations — Turn your neck one direction to its maximum exten- sion and hold this position for 5 seconds. Do the same in the opposite direction, then repeat 3-5 times.

  6. Neck side bends — Keeping your head forward, bend your neck to one side and then the other, trying to touch your ear to your shoulder each time. Repeat 3-5 times.

  7. Whole body —You may reduce your body weight by eating a fairly low-fat diet and walking simply one mile each day (15–18 minutes). There's more, however. Additionally, walking helps decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart rate. It is a safe, effective workout that is easy on the hips, knees, and ankles.

 

To increase your daily walking distance, try these suggestions:

  • When at your terminal waiting for dispatch, ask another driver if he/she has time for a quick walk around the yard. Having someone to talk to while you walk will make the experience more enjoyable.

  • Keep your vehicle as far away from the facilities as you can while parked at a truck stop or rest area (during the daylight hours only). This will make your travel a bit farther, but because parking distance from the facility is often less crowded, it also lowers the risk of fender-bender collisions.

  • When walking, maintain a pace that isn’t too strenuous but that will increase your heart rate. Also, try to walk with small weights or dumbbells - a great idea for upper body muscle conditioning

 

Mental health — You should take into account your mental health and state of mind in addition to the difficulties you have in maintaining a fit and healthy physique. Along with having an impact on your physical health and wellbeing, poor mental health may make it challenging to carry out your daily tasks at work.

 

Stress — Stress is a physical or mental response to the pressures of an event or factors of living in general. Though we tend to speak of it in a negative context, stress can be positive or negative.

 

According to biology, when you are under stress, your body produces hormones that speed up your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and blood clotting. Your body enters a state of survival, becoming ready for a medical emergency. This could be advantageous. You have the drive and quick thinking to finish the assignment. You work hard and are focused.

 

Your body momentarily adapts to the stress as it continues. Your body returns to normal if the stress is eliminated during this time of adjustment. However, if stress persists for a long time, your body becomes exhausted and unable to adapt. Your defenses may be weakened, which might spread illness. A body cannot continuously run at great speed. The result may be "burnout." Stress may enrich your life by providing opportunity, challenge, and diversity. Stress that is too much might harm you.

 

In terms of health, stress may lead to high blood pressure, discomfort, difficulty breathing, cancer, digestive problems, sleeplessness, and exhaustion. You can have psychological problems such as anger, impatience, irritation, concern, low self-confidence, difficulty listening, aggression, alcoholism, or drug usage.

 

To compound matters, your job can be affected too. Stress can lead to acci- dents, a loss of priorities, rushing, and anger or inappropriate behavior.

 

You can deal with stress by watching for the warning signs. Become aware of when you are under stress. Look for signs of being in survival mode. Once you are aware of what stresses you, you can manage your stress by using one or more of the following stress-reduction techniques:

 

1.Take breaks and learn to relax fully.

2.Release stress with exercise.

3.Maintain proper rest and diet so that you can deal with stressful situations.

4.Practice deep breathing or yoga to relax body and mind.

1.Manage your time. Set priorities and do the most important things first.

2.Build your self confidence.

3.Have fun.

4.Laugh and cry to release tension.

5.Refrain from using drugs or alcohol to temporarily reduce stress. Your issue won't be resolved.

6.Share your stress with others. Talk to a friend. “Cry on someone’s shoulder.”

 

Fatigue and Driving

 

In contemporary, round-the-clock culture, demanding work schedules are a reality of life. At various hours of the day and night, products are created and services are rendered. As a result, nearly 15.5 million Americans work irregular hours, such as rotating shifts or nights that never end.

 

These schedules help keep businesses running, but for the people who have to function within them, they can have a negative impact if not managed correctly.

 

Sleep is just as crucial as healthy eating and regular exercise since it is often described as the brain's fuel. People who struggle to get adequate sleep report having more problems focusing, completing necessary chores, and tolerating small irritations.

Every decision you make will either have a good or negative effect on how well you sleep. Take a look at the scientific studies that show that insomnia and insufficient sleep length both have detrimental effects:

 

  • Problems with memory, family/social interactions, and mood, as well as a worse quality of life, more health care expenditures, more absenteeism, and a higher risk of heart disease, may all be brought on by insomnia.

  • Lack of sleep may cause extreme drowsiness, depressive mood swings, decreased performance on standardized tests, increased accident risk, and immediate harmful effects on immunological and glucose metabolism.

 

 

Causes of fatigue include:

 

Sleep apnea — A respiratory condition that causes short breathing pauses while you sleep. Sleep apnea may be indicated by snoring. Daytime drowsiness and lack of focus are symptoms of the disorder. Because sleep apnea may be associated with the irregular pulse, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, early detection and treatment are crucial. The prevalence of sleep apnea is higher in males, although it affects people of all ages and genders.

 

Stress — Although it might be much more subtle than a lack of sleep, stress is another element that contributes to fatigue. It might make you feel worn out without necessarily making you physically exhausted. You may get intellectually and emotionally exhausted, finally becoming worn out and feeling depleted.

 

Highway hypnosis — Everyone experiences this sometimes. You're traveling along a boring highway section with little other traffic. There is nothing to look at or draw your attention to. Milestones and lines never seem to stop moving. The past ten kilometers are abruptly forgotten, you realize. Your mind has been a million miles away while you have been driving on automatic pilot. Driving Without Awareness, or DWA Syndrome is the term used by experts to describe this hazardous occurrence. Even when you're well-rested, it may still happen, although it tends to happen more often when you're susceptible to exhaustion. The issue is that you could not awaken from your reverie until your mind eventually alerts you to the danger in front of you. After then, it could be too late.

Your body clock — Your internal clock Your body experiences many phases of sleep while you are sleeping, ranging from light to profound sleep. Your body may experience many cycles of light and deep sleep when you have uninterrupted sleep, which will maximize your performance. However, if the pattern is broken, some of the healing benefits of repeating the cycles are lost.

 

Circadian rhythm — Humans are day-oriented biologically. We are more productive throughout the day and more rested at night. Our circadian rhythms attempt to coordinate bodily processes with behavior via regular ups and downs throughout a 24-hour day. Body functions are typically highest during the day and lowest at night.Trying to reverse this is difficult. Night shift workers are at work when their circadian rhythms are low and asleep when they are high. These rhythms affect safety because they control how alert we feel. We are more alert when our internal body activity is high, therefore perform best during those times. However, night shift workers are at work when they are low, when their level of alertness is diminished. Add to this a lack of good sleep, and it becomes easy to see how judgment can be affected, increasing the difficulty of making good, effective, and timely safety decisions.

 

Sleep debt — You start to accrue a sleep debt if you go too long without getting adequate rest. You will require more sleep to catch up the longer you go without enough rest. Sleeping is the only way to pay off this obligation. Regrettably, the opposite is untrue. You can't save up sleep hours and then expect to lose them all. Sleeping excessively might make you feel just as exhausted as not getting enough sleep.

 

Rotating shifts — Poor sleep is often a result of working late. One of the groups of workers that sleep the least is shift workers. For these professionals, changing from a daytime to a nighttime schedule is more difficult since they have to quickly turn around their body's internal clock. Working at night makes it challenging to acquire adequate sleep, and the sleep that is obtained is often less restorative or enjoyable than sleep during typical evening hours. Short-term, acute repercussions of this effect on sleep include difficulties focusing.

 

The following practical tips may help reduce the detrimental effects of shiftwork:

 

Get enough sleep — Everyone needs at least six hours of sleep, but most people need more than that. For night workers, the best time to get enough sleep varies. Try different times to see what works best. It may help to keep a record to identify which time works best.

 

Added to regular sleep, a short afternoon or evening nap can help fight sleepiness during the night. Naps less than 15 minutes long, however, may actually make a person sleepier. Try to make them 20-30 minutes long.

 

It is recommended for a shift worker to receive the most of their sleep the night after switching from nights to days. To recover from the night shift, they should only get a few hours of sleep. then remain up all day and go to bed that night at their customary hour.

 

Protect your sleep — A few tricks to protecting sleep during the day include:

  • Sleep in the sleeper, not sitting at the wheel.

  • If you have to sleep during the day, make sure your sleep area is as dark and quiet as possible.

  • Follow your regular bedtime routine every time you go to sleep.

  • If you’re going to eat before you go to sleep, eat a light meal.

  • Try to reduce your stress before you go to sleep by taking a short walk.

  • Use a fan or music to act as a sound barrier.

  • Keep the temperature in your room between 65-68° F.

 

Exercise — Maintaining a healthy body helps you fend off stress and disease. Additionally, it prevents you from becoming too weary too soon. A doctor should always be consulted before beginning an exercise regimen. Getting a yearly physical that focuses on your eating, exercising, and sleeping patterns is also a smart idea. Early in the morning, but before work, a 20-minute aerobic workout is the ideal fitness routine. This is plenty to get you up and moving and to maintain the health of your heart. Remember to warm up before working out. Your muscles will also need some time to awaken.

 

This pre-shift exercise raises your body temperature and can help activate your body to produce energy and adjust your internal rhythms to the new work schedule.

 

Relax — Take some time to unwind and forget about your job worries while you're not working. This can only include taking a seat and shutting your eyes for a moment. It could also include watching TV, reading, having a bath, or meditating. If none of these techniques succeed, you could:

 

  • Lie down on a comfortable surface, or sit in an easy chair.

  • One by one, slowly tense each muscle group in your body, then slowly let them relax.

  • Breathe deeply and go slowly.

  • Try to feel all the muscle tension draining away.

 

Watch what you eat — This means avoiding fatty and sugary foods. Heavy, greasy foods act against sleep because they are difficult to digest and can lead to possible stomach upset.

 

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that helps you feel more alert. It is the most widely used drug in the world. It is a fairly safe drug if used in small doses. A small dose is one to three cups of coffee, tea, or caffeinated soft drink. However, caffeine can make relaxation difficult.

 

Another substance to use with caution is alcohol. Although it may make you feel sleepy, it will also wake you up too quickly after falling asleep.

 

No matter how many years of truck driving experience you have or how many miles you have driven, you are not a machine, so keep this in mind if you start to feel tired after being on the road for a long. Humans need sleep, that much is certain. To drive a commercial motor vehicle, you need both a quick head and stable hands.

 

Alcohol and Driving

 

Alcohol has been used as a narcotic for thousands of years and is widely tolerated in society. When used in moderation for enjoyment and relaxation on social occasions, it is regarded as a recreational beverage. However, it is an abusive substance when used mainly for its physical and mood-altering effects.. As a depressant, it slows down physical responses and progressively impairs mental functions.

How alcohol affects driving — Due to the impairment of complex mental and motor skills, alcohol use is linked to a broad variety of accidents and injuries. Because of the abilities needed to drive a car, even little amounts of alcohol may have an adverse effect.

 

Alcohol greatly compromises the brain's ability to regulate eye movements. Driving requires the eyes to monitor key things in the field of vision as they move, as well as the car itself. Blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.03 and 0.05 percent interferes with voluntary eye movements, making it difficult for the eye to follow a moving object quickly.

 

Alcohol impairs nearly every aspect of information processing by the brain. Alcohol-impaired drivers require more time to read a street sign or to respond to a traffic signal than unimpaired drivers. Consequently, they tend to look at fewer sources of information.

 

The distribution of attention among component abilities is the most delicate part of driving performance. Drivers must keep their cars moving in the right lanes and directions while keeping an eye out for anything that might be dangerous, including other cars, traffic lights, and pedestrians. When compelled to split their attention between two activities, people under the influence of alcohol tend to prefer one of them. Alcohol-impaired drivers thus tend to focus more on steering and become less alert to safety information. According to the findings of multiple research, divided attention deficits may arise at BAC levels as low as 0.02 percent.

 

Regulations — The FMCSRs address the use of alcohol by commercial drivers. Prohibited behaviors, as listed in Sec. 392.5 of the FMCSRs include:

  • Alcohol consumption four hours prior to coming on duty, or while having physical control of, or operating a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Alcohol use, being under the influence of alcohol, or having any measurable amount of alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Being on duty or operating a commercial motor vehicle with alcohol in possession, with the exception of transporting a manifest shipment of alcoholic beverages.

 

Alcohol testing — A motorist who has a breath alcohol content of 0.02 but less than 0.04 is prohibited from doing any safety-sensitive tasks, including operating a commercial motor vehicle, for 24 hours after the reading, according to Part 382 of the FMCSRs. Drivers who have a reading of 0.04 or above must be taken out of all safety-sensitive functions immediately, and they cannot return until they follow the procedures outlined in Part 40 Subpart O of the FMCSRs.

 

Disqualification — Any violations committed while operating a vehicle will be retained against a CDL driver. According to state law, any CDL driver who is found guilty of driving while intoxicated (in any sort of vehicle) shall be prohibited from operating a vehicle that requires a CDL for a year after a first offense. A three-year license suspension is the harsher punishment if the violation took place in a vehicle transporting hazardous chemicals. Any more infractions, regardless of the kind of vehicle, will result in a lifetime suspension.

 

Drugs and Driving

 

The FMCSA has ordered the random drug testing of commercial drivers who operate vehicles needing a CDL as part of its effort to protect the safety of the nation's roadways.

 

No driver shall use a controlled substance while on duty or while performing duties that require the performance of safety-sensitive functions unless the use is authorized by a licensed medical professional who has advised the driver that the substance will not impair the driver's ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

The FMCSA requires certified labs to test for five major categories of drugs, along with any signs of substitution or adulteration. The drugs are:

  • Marijuana metabolites;

  • Cocaine metabolites and Amphetamines;

  • Opiate metabolites; and

  • Phencyclidine (PCP).

 

Marijuana — People use marijuana because of the impacts it has on their perceptions, which include moderately calming them down and modifying their moods. Marijuana does not decrease cen- central nervous system responses. Its effects are nearly entirely confined to the brain, where it modifies the way that incoming information should be interpreted.

 

Cocaine — Cocaine is used medically as a local anesthetic. It is abused as a powerful physical and mental stimulant. The entire central nervous sys- tem is energized. Muscles are more tense, the heart beats faster and stron- ger, and the body burns more energy. The brain experiences an exhilaration caused by a large release of neurohormones associated with mood elevation.

 

Opiates — Opiates are narcotic drugs that alleviate pain, depress body functions and reactions and, when taken in large doses, cause a strong euphoric feeling. They include:

 

  • Natural and natural derivatives - opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin; and

 

  • Synthetics - meperidine (Demerol®), oxymorphone (Numorphan®), and oxycodone (Percodan®)

Amphetamines — Amphetamines are CNS stimulants that make the body and mind more active. The grounds for their usage are the physical feeling of vigor they provide at lower dosages and the cerebral euphoria they produce at greater ones. Although amphetamines were formerly often prescribed for mood enhancement and weight loss, their legal usage is now restricted to a very specific set of medical disorders. The majority of amphetamines used for misuse are either secretly produced in subpar facilities or illegally made abroad and brought into the United States.

 

Phencyclidine (PCP) — Although phencyclidine (PCP) was first created as an anesthetic, its negative side effects limited its application to tranquilizing big animals. In addition to its dual effects as a stimulant and a depressive, phencyclidine also operates as a hallucinogen. The main reason it's overused is its many mood-altering properties. Sedation and euphoric mood swings are brought on by modest doses. Sedation to excitement and agitation are quick mood swings. Larger dosages may cause a coma-like state with tight muscles, a blank expression, and half-closed eyelids. An individual who has a "freak out" may exhibit extraordinary strength, excessively aggressive conduct, and an inability to talk or understand communication as a result of sudden sounds or physical shocks.

 

Refusal to test — Drivers are subject to the repercussions of testing refusal if they refuse to take a test or arrive at a test location later than scheduled. This test is also regarded as a "refusal" if the motorist is unable to generate an adequate amount of urine and is not able to provide a medical justification from a qualified healthcare provider. A "refusal" has the same repercussions as a positive test.

 

CDL disqualification — According to Section 383.51 of the FMCSRs, a CDL holder will lose their license for one year if they are convicted of driving while intoxicated for the first time, and three years if they are convicted of operating a vehicle carrying hazardous chemicals. A driver loses their license for life after a second infraction in any form of vehicle.

 

A CDL-holder who uses any kind of vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance will be disqualified for life after one conviction.

 

Safety Equipment and Practices

 

Knowing the FMCSRs and OSHA regulations, in general, is not enough to ensure workplace safety. Following firm safety and security rules and procedures as well as using common sense are part of it. Make every effort to consider your actions before doing them, since carelessness and inattention at work may have disastrous results. What are you going to do next and what will happen as a result? Use the appropriate tools for the work and go through the safety procedures for doing your duties.

 

Accidents often occur when you face a new job or a change at work. When something in your workplace changes, think about your safety. If you are not sure about how to proceed, ask questions. Also, if you discover a hazard, report it.

Vehicle entry and exit — Believe it or not, there are correct methods to ascend, enter and exit cars, as well as get into and out of seats and cabs:

 

  • ​​Always use handrails, face the ladder or steps, and maintain three points of contact (two feet and one hand, or one foot and two hands) at all times;
  • ​​Always use anti-slip surfaces for climbing or stepping; and
  • ​​Never jump from or to ladders, steps, or walkways.
  • Equipment - Wear the right equipment and appropriate equipment to prevent a disabling injury.

 

Consider the use of:

​- Eye protection such as safety glasses and goggles;​

- Safety toe shoes;

- Personal protective equipment for hands, including gloves;

- Protective hard hat;

Hearing protection.

Also, be conscious of loose clothes which could catch on a vehicle or load.

 

Proper lifting — Believe it or not, there are correct methods to ascend, enter and exit cars, as well as get into and out of seats and cabs:

 

Step 1: Size up the load before trying to lift it. If it’s too heavy get some help.

  • Stretch before you lift, and stretch out frequently during sessions of repeated lifting;

  • Test the weight by lifting one of the corners;

  • Anything over 50 pounds is considered a heavy lift;

  • Request help if you need it;

  • Use mechanical aids - hoists, carts, or dollies - as load warrants;

 

Step 2: Bend your knees. Let your legs do the work.

 

  • Stand near the thing with your feet spaced apart;
  • Position yourself above the weight, crouch down, and get a firm grasp
  • Lift straight up, smoothly;
  • Never bend at the waist, or lift with a rounded back.

 

Step 3: Never twist or turn your body once you have made the lift.

 

  • Keep the load steady and close to your body; and

 

  • Never carry a load above your head or at your side.

 

 

Step 4: Make sure you can carry the load to its destination before attempting the lift.

 

  • Make sure your path is clear of all obstacles; and

 

  • Break up a long carry by stopping halfway to reposition your grasp.

 

 

Step 5: Set the load down properly.

 

  • Bend your knees;

 

  • Keep your back upright;

 

  • Let your legs do the work;

 

  • Take your time;

 

  • Keep your head up;

 

  • Tighten the abdominal muscles; and

 

  • Pivot your feet before you move another direction - do not twist.

 

Always push, don’t pull an object.

 

  • Pushing puts less strain on the back.

 

Cargo security/theft — Loaded trailers carrying almost any kind of goods are possible targets for theft, whether they hold 5,000 pounds of fish, a load of personal computers, or an entire truckload of medicines. Annual cargo losses in the United States are estimated to be $10 billion. In addition to the real value of the stolen goods, the cost of cargo theft also includes higher insurance premiums, decreased profits, lost clients and business opportunities, halted freight distribution, and higher supply-chain expenses overall.

 

For Motor carriers must first comprehend the distinct strategies and tactics utilized by cargo thieves to create and put into practise efficient cargo security and anti-theft procedures. These consist of:

 

Armed robberies — Armed theft from warehouses, truck terminals, and professional truck drivers are the most common form of cargo theft and fall into three basic categories:

 

  • Theft of loaded vehicles from a trucking facility;

 

  • Theft of a vehicle after thieves compel a driver to make an unplanned stop; and

 

  • Theft of a vehicle when a truck driver stops (at a signal light, truck stop, rest area, etc.).

 

Burglaries and break-ins — Transportation facilities, commercial industrial parks, and intermodal train yards are the places where burglaries and break-ins happen the most often.

 

Counterfeit paperwork and fraud — Independent contractors that move chassis and containers to and from intermodal rail yards and container terminals often use this technique. The driver pre-sends fake identification documents to the security guards and then steals an entire container of expensive goods.

 

Grab and runs — A common tactic employed by burglars with firsthand knowledge of a shipment of pricey, high-tech goods. involves thieves entering a stopped truck and loading as much cargo as they can before the driver gets back. According to estimates from the Department of Justice, 80% of cargo thefts take place while the shipment is en route.

The following tips are provided to help give drivers a better understanding of what to look for when supervising any loading activity:

 

Pre-trip — Before leaving for the journey, thoroughly check your equipment to make sure it is secure and free of trash and other objects before entering the shipper's facility.

 

Unauthorized cargo —Unscheduled or unapproved boxes, cartons, packages, or other cargo (regardless of size) should not be accepted or permitted to be loaded on or in your trailer. Consider any request to load an unapproved or unplanned item to be very suspicious. If this were to occur, you should immediately alert your carrier, the responsible shipping team, and/or the relevant authorities.

 

Cargo inspection — Be sure to get exactly what you sign for. Inspect all cargo before it is loaded. The cargo should be free of any visual damage. Once loaded, the cargo should be properly secured from shift- ing and falling.

 

Loading — When possible, load the most valuable cargo into the nose of the trailer and as far away from the doors as possible, as a means of better protecting it from thieves.

 

Documentation —All load-related paperwork has to be carefully examined and checked.

 

Suspicious activity — The bulk of cargo thefts and highjackings take place within a few miles of the load's site of origin, so be extra vigilant while departing a shipper. Before departing any shipper

 

  • Secure the trailer doors with a heavy-duty padlock and/or trailer door seal;

 

  • Keep tractor doors locked and windows rolled up until out on a major road or highway;

 

  • Keep a watchful eye out - if you suspect you are being followed, contact your carrier or the authorities immediately; and

 

  • Be especially alert near signal-regulated highway on- and off-ramps.

 

Communication — Check-in periodically throughout the day (including when loaded and ready to leave a shipper). Report any load-related details as well as any additional information that the firm requires, such as the trailer seal number, information about the hours of service, the anticipated arrival time, etc.

Identification — Have a list of information on you before leaving the shipper, such as the VINs for the tractor and trailer, the vehicle's license plate, and your insurance information. In the case of car theft, this list will be useful to law authorities.

 

Securing the trailer — Typically, commercial motor carriers secure their cargo to prevent theft and to preserve or guarantee the integrity of the cargo. According to the value and nature of the goods being carried, a trailer's level of security may range from plastic or metal strip seals for low-value loads to steel cable seals and heavy-duty padlocks for high-value loads. Motor carriers must provide their drivers with a supply of trailer seals even if shippers supply them. You should seal the trailer with a competent shipping employee present, and you should note the seal number(s) on the bill of lading or another appropriate shipping document.

 

Reacting to danger when travelling — What if, even after being careful, alert, and aware, you find yourself in a dangerous situation? What should you do?

 

For a cargo theft in progress:

 

  • Always assume a criminal is armed and dangerous. Don’t be a hero.

 

  • If you encounter a cargo theft in progress or someone trying to break into the truck or trailer, call the police or other authority for help immediately.

 

For a vehicle hijacking:

 

  • When leaving the shipper, use extreme caution. Most highjackings take place a few kilometers or less from where the cargo was first loaded.

 

  • Be conscious of other vehicles that may be following the truck over long distances.

 

  • Be very suspicious of motorists that are signaling you to stop or pull over.

 

  • Follow directions at all times if a hijacking cannot be prevented. By being attentive and attentively listening, try to be a worthy witness. You may be able to provide law police with crucial information about the thieves' tactics and potential hiding places for the vehicle and goods after the crime has been committed.

 

Re-checking trailer and cargo integrity — Load security ends with you and the responsible receiving personnel working together to unload the trailer. You and receiver should:

 

  • Match the bill of lading and/or other load-related numbers and paper- work;

 

  • Inspect the seal(s), and match seal number(s) with corresponding documentation;

 

  • Break the seal(s);

 

  • Begin and complete unloading; and

 

  • Sign the bill of lading or other load-related paperwork.

 

It is advised that the driver supervise the unloading procedure to safeguard the carrier against cargo claims. You should be instructed to notify the motor carrier as soon as you see any irregularities or damage during the unloading procedure.

 

Summary

 

Whether on the road or at the airport, a successful, professional truck driver must take health and safety seriously. For a commercial driver to thrive, health and safety must be a way of life. Everything comes down to choices, from leading healthy lives to making a deliberate effort to adhere to safety laws and procedures.