New Hampshire goes 100% Hands-Free Driving July 1

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jun 25, 2015 1:32:19 PM

Road sign reading, Don't text and drive, arrive alive. 

In case you missed it - the State of New Hampshire is going Hands Free. The new law, effective July 1 2015 bans the use of any hand held electronic devices including cell phones, tablets, or any other electronic device requiring user input. 

The use of handsfree and bluetooth communication devices will be allowed. 

You will still be able to use one-hand, non cell phone radios as well. 

Emergency calls to 911 or public safety agencies are exempt from the ban. 

So what happens if you break the law? Some pretty steep fines, from $100 dollars for the first offense, up to $500 for the third offense within two years - not including possible additional penalty assessments. 

Why is NH going hands free? Distracted driving is a serious issue, and the State reports that 116 fatal crashes occured in the last 4 years as a direct result of distracted driving. 

I think this is a positive safety move for the State - we adopted a company wide hands free policy in 2010 (you can read the policy here: Distracted Driving Policy

If you are concerned about employee or driver compliance with hands free or no cell phone policies, there are several apps on the market to ensure compliance - you can read about the one we use here: Want Safer Drivers? There's an App for That )

Any thoughts or questions about the rule, feel free to give us a shout.

Thanks for reading! 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy

Get Your Trucks Ready - Road Check is June 2-4!

Posted by Matt Manoli on May 12, 2015 11:56:13 AM

Woman performing a truck safety inspection

The Annual Road Check 72 hour inspection blitz on Commercial Vehicles is set to take place this year from June 2-4. 

The CVSA inspects an average of 17-18 Commercial Vehicles PER MINUTE during the 3 day period, so it's important to make sure you and your truck are prepared. The purpose of the annual blitz is to ensure the safety of the public traveling on highways, but it also serves to protect drivers themselves by reminding us to be vigilant checking on all possible safety issues on our vehicles and stick with best practices to ensure everyone is as safe as reasonably possible. 

The top categories for violations are: Brakes, Lights, Tires, and Cargo Securement. 

Quick steps to make sure you pass:

  • Make sure youre wearing your seatbelt! It sounds silly but this is actually the most commonly cited violation on inspection, and its the easiest one to correct.
  • Make sure your brakes are working properly and dont show excessive wear, corrosion, or air leakage
  • Make sure coupling devices are present in proper number and are in acceptable condition - no excessive wear, missing parts, or cracks. 
  • Make sure all your lights are working properly
  • Make sure your tires are in proper condition - acceptable tread depth, proper inflation, no obvious visible damage
  • Make sure your cargo is secured properly! This is the 4th most common reason for being put out of service, and really should be something we are all on top of every day. 

The above points are critical for the annual inspection, but they're also things you should really be checking in your pre and post trip vehicle inspections daily as well. It takes very little time to give your truck a once over and make sure everything is as it should be, and the payoff for doing so is enormous. 

We pulled the information for the above points from the CVSA's published "The Inspectors Seat" chart, which you can read in full here: The Inspector's Seat . There is also a lot of excellent information about the Road Check program, prior year results, and general safety info at the CVSA's website, which is www.cvsa.org 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comments section. Good luck everyone!!

 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Roadcheck, Hazmat

Extreme Driving Conditions - Quick Tips to Stay Safe

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 12, 2015 9:11:25 AM

Snow covered road with a road sign showing the road is slippery

We all know the running joke, no one in New England seems to remember how to drive the second it starts raining or especially snowing. But in all seriousness, its important to take a step back when the temperature drops and the snow starts falling, and make sure you're taking the simple steps necessary to make sure youre handling the tougher conditions safely.

Stay Back - Leave Time to React

In ideal road conditions, the safest following distance is 3-4 seconds. In snowy or icy conditions however, you want to leave at least 8-10 seconds of following time between you and the vehicle ahead of you. No easy task on some of our more infamous Massachusetts highways, but still an important proactive and simple measure you can take to vastly decrease your odds of a collision.

Be Aware of the Day's Varying Hazards

Is there a rain or wind advisory? Fog? Is the sun glaring off all that snow and ice? 

In rainy or slushy conditions, speed management is critical for avoiding hydroplaning, and keeping a safe distance between your truck and other vehicles is of paramount importance. The same goes for speed management and distance with foggy conditions, as the lack of visibility means its more important than ever to give yourself the most possible reaction time.

Sun glare can be mitigated with sunglasses and a visor, obviously. But keep in mind also that the difficulty in visibility even with those measures in place means you should still be watching your distance from other vehicles and speed, because not everyone else on the road is taking the steps to maximize their own visibility. 

Snow Driving - the worst, right? In any type of snow, but especially thick, slushy snow managing your speed and making sure youre taking your time on accelerations and decelerations is absolutely essential. In both snow and ice your braking distance can be much greater than it is in ideal conditions, so distance from other vehicles is key. Reduced traction from snow or ice packing on a road can result in it having 20% of the traction of a wet road. Poor traction means spinning wheels, so paying close attention to your speed, acceleration and deceleration is critical.

Black Ice - one of the most dangerous driving situations out there in the winter. Drivers should pay attention to the spray thrown from other surrounding vehicles - if it suddenly stops, it may indicate black ice is forming ahead.  

Reduced visibility from snow and ice buildup is hazardous. If you cannot see in ALL directions, it is not safe for you to be driving.

Additionally, should your vehicle break down in any of these extreme conditions, immediately call into your dispatcher or supervisor. You should not attempt to walk for help unless absolutely neccessary, and if so leave a note indicating your direction and attempted destination, etc. If your engine is able to run, remain in the truck with the engine running and the window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and wait for help to arrive. 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, winter driving

It Pays to Pay Extra Attention to Your Truck for Winter Driving

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 9, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Semi-truck driving on a snowy mountain road

It Pays to Pay Closer Attention to your Truck Inspections in Extreme Weather

In addition to your regular daily vehicle inspections, once the cold weather hits its important to remember to pay extra attention to certain parts, fluids, and accessories. 

  • Coolant & Antifreeze - both of these fluids need to be full at all times to help prevent any cold related engine problems
  • Windshields - Make sure your defrosters are working properly at all times, your wipers are properly fitted so they press the window hard enough to completely clear the vision field. Your washer fluid should always be full, and you should be using a cold weather fluid, like a -20 formula.
  • Tires - you need to make sure your tires are in good condition for winter driving, good tread, properly balanced and inflated. 
  • Brakes - Make sure your brakes are properly adjusted, and make sure you are regularly checking for ice on the brake linings, and keeping air tanks as moisture free as possible. In a winter where youre dealing with a lot of ice driving & braking, pay attention to wear.
  • Fuel Tank - you should be keeping your fuel tank full at all times if possible, especially overnight. Definitely do a top off when the forecast is calling for bad weather the next morning. 
  • Lights & Reflectors - make sure that your lights are working, and make sure that all lights and reflectors are free from ice and snow before heading out - in this weather you need all the visibility advantages you can get.
  • Exhaust - make sure exhaust fittings are tight to prevent carbon monoxide leaking. Also make sure your exhaust piping is free of snow and ice.
  • Wiring & Airlines - any exposed airlines and wiring on your vehicle should be free of snow and ice
  • Coupling Devices - Before coupling its critical that all snow and ice is removed from the 5th wheel. In below freezing temperatures, the jaws of the coupling device may not lock if the grease is frozen. The locking should be double checked, and the 5th wheel should be lubricated.
  • Handholds, steps, and deck plates - should always be cleared of ice and snow to avoid falls. Always remember the 3 points of contact rule!


Winter Driving Equipment

The following items should ALWAYS be in your vehicle for winter driving:

  • Windshield scraper
  • Snow Brush
  • Small Shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Warning Devices 

Its also advisable to think about your safety too - keep bottled water, some snacks, a cell phone/CB, and something to keep you warm should the need arise.

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, winter driving

Safety as a Culture at Dennis K Burke

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jul 11, 2012 4:09:00 PM

Hi guys - in case you missed it, dont forget to check out Ed's article in the May edition of Oil & Energy Magazine on Safety as a Culture in your organization. We have a strong belief in safety being the number one priority at all times and have worked really hard to create a Safety Culture and Program that not only benefits our company and keeps insurances costs lower but allows Safe Drivers to personally benefit from a focus on safety through compensation and bonuses tied to safer performance. Its worth thinking about for your organization as well.

you can read the article in PDF Here or read the Oil & Energy online magazine here

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Oil & Energy Magazine

Safe Driving - Dennis K Burke's Distracted Driving Policy

Posted by Matt Manoli on May 15, 2010 1:42:00 PM

dennis k burke, burke oil logo

On May 24, 2010, Dennis K. Burke, Inc. will adopt a policy that will allow our drivers to be safer at work and further set us apart from many in our industry.

 Distracted driving is quickly becoming an epidemic in our society and the statistics showing the results should make all of us pause and realize the importance of this topic in both our work and personal lives.  

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, in 2008 nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than half a million were injured.  
  • While we would never consider driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, talking on a cell phone while driving extends a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Stop and re-read those two bullets… those are staggering statistics. Sadly our brains are often too stubborn to allow us to learn from statistics until we are affected by them personally.

Dennis K. Burke, Inc. is committed to providing the safest possible environment for its employees and the public. As such, it is the policy of Dennis K. Burke, Inc. that no employee will use any type of handheld electronic device while operating a company vehicle or while driving their personal vehicle on company business. This includes, but is not limited to: cell phones, CB radios, laptop computers, and GPS systems. While we realize the large role that these devices play in our lives on a daily basis and the inconveniences and inefficiencies eliminating their use while driving may cause, we are not willing to sacrifice safety.  While we are confident that legislation to this end will follow soon, until such time Dennis K. Burke will be on the forefront leading the way.

Attached is the formal policy as well as a few bullets on how we intend on modifying our business practices to accomplish this change in policy. Please read and be prepared to put in place on May 24, 2010. We also urge you to talk your families and to those who are important in your lives about this serious issue. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and your daily efforts towards keeping our roads safe!


Changes to procedure once policy is in place

  1. You are still required to call in after completion of each load. You are to call base prior to leaving the site after each load if single stop or at the conclusion of a multi-stop run.
  2.  If you are unable to get thru on either of the 2 base phones and nobody has returned your call within  10 minutes from the time of your first call, you are to then contact the Dispatch Hotline at 617.304.1906 or 181*25103*70. This phone is not to call dispatch unless you have been sitting for 10 minutes or longer
  3. If dispatch needs to contact you and you are driving, they will call from the Dispatch Hotline phone. This phone will be set-up on your phone with a special ring tone. If you hear this ring tone while driving, it means dispatch needs to talk to you immediately. You are then to SAFELY find a SAFE location to pull over. Do not pull over into the breakdown lane on the highway. Get off at an exit and find a safe spot to pull the truck over and call the base phones back.
  4. In the event of a personal emergency call from home, we recommend you set up your phones with a special ring tone as with the dispatch hotline. If this call is received, you are then to SAFELY find a SAFE location to pull over and return the call.

 

 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Cell Phone Policy