Safety Talks 2005-06


Friday October 7, 2005

We have discussed load securement in the past, but there is still some confusion. In order to secure a load of 48,000 lbs, you must use at least twelve 2 inch straps or eight 3 inch straps or six 4 inch straps. You can mix the sizes, just remember that two 2 inch straps equal one 4 inch strap. You must also have two straps in the first 10 feet; Ohio interprets this to mean two straps on the front pallet of brick or a pallet of cement. If you split the load, you will also need two straps on the front pallet of the back half. There is no penalty for too many straps. Ohio will fine you $100 for having too few. These standards were not pulled out of thin air.


This is the minimum standard to safely move a load.


Also remember to secure the driver; buckle that seatbelt.


Safety meeting October 29, 2005



Friday October 21, 2005

Situations may arise where you will need to make an emergency stop or an emergency turn somewhere.  Today, as I was turning off Keystone Avenue, I witnessed yet another semi taking a u-turn through a red light.  I do not know the situation that made this driver do this, but what he did was illegal.  When you make an emergency stop or turn, you need to keep in mind the implications of such an act.  In this situation, there could have been cars in the ongoing traffic that drove right into the truck or trailer.  This could have easily caused a several vehicle accident.  Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have to stop for an emergency, you will need to put up reflectors to warn the other drivers on the highway.  Not doing so could make it more hazardous for the drivers on the highway, especially at night.  The situations that I just described are those where it would have been all too easy for an officer to issue a ticket (regardless of the reason).  We all have emergency situations, but we need to go about them in the proper and legal manner. 


Please keep this in mind: in those situations and every other, remember to buckle your safety belt!




This is a reminder about the safety meeting October 29, 2005. We will meet at the Doubletree Guest Suites 11355 N Meridian St. Carmel, In. To get there take US 31 to 116th street in Carmel. Turn east to the next light turn south and Doubletree will be on the right about a 1/4 mile. The meeting starts at 8:00 am and ends just after 1:00pm. We will serve both breakfast and lunch. Since our purpose is to deal with issues of safety, wives and families are not invited. There is excellent shopping nearby and we would be happy to give suggestions for activities for anyone traveling with you.


If you have any questions, ask any of us at the office. We look forward to seeing you on the 29th.



PS Please bring your freight bills and we will pass out settlement checks at the end of the meeting.



Friday November 4, 2005

At the safety meeting, it was brought to my attention that snow can be a problem with LED lights. Since they don’t build heat like incandescent bulbs, snow and ice do not melt off. This means you need to brush off any snow and ice whenever you get in or out of the truck.


Effective Monday November 7, 2005, we will switch to winter hours. The office will be open from 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday.


Thank you for making this a very successful safety meeting. We look forward to seeing you next year.




Friday November 11, 2005


Winter is coming. Now is the time to check windshield wipers, heater hoses, and anti-freeze levels. Also, check your safety equipment. You need a full fire extinguisher properly mounted in the cab and working triangle reflectors. I would recommend draining all of the air tanks on both the tractor and trailer, preferably every month even if you have an air dryer. Doing this could prevent a service call for freeze up. If you don’t have a working air dryer, bleed off the water at least once every day. Another winter consideration is tire pressure. Remember tires lose pressure as the temperature drops and low tire pressure effects fuel mileage. One other consideration is that you should always carry extra blankets in case of a breakdown.




Friday November 25, 2005

The holidays are finally here. Within the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, there’s bad weather and people with their minds on things other than their driving.

During this time, you must pay extra attention to the cars around you to sense which one is about to make a mistake. Also, after dark you know that there are more drunk drivers on the road. The worst part of this is that a lot of them don’t normally drink. This means the effects of the alcohol are even worse. During this season, keep your seatbelt buckled and your eyes open for the other guy.  



Be safe, buckle that seatbelt.




Friday December 2, 2005

Now that December is here, we need to be aware of personal safety. We never know when our truck might freeze up or when we could be stranded on the road because of bad weather. Even if you are not planning to be out overnight, you still need to prepare for the worst. Carry blankets and extra clothes in your truck. It’s a good idea to have two coats; if one gets wet, you’ll have the other to keep you warm. Plan ahead, stay warm, and always buckle your seat belt. 




Be safe, buckle your seatbelt.



Friday December 9, 2005

Many of the new trailers have synthetic grease instead of oil in the axle bearings. These hub caps do not have rubber plugs in the middle. DO NOT remove or tamper with these caps in any way without first talking to this office and calling the number with the cap for instructions. The grease, seals, and axles have a 5 year warranty that is voided if the hub caps are tampered with or removed.


Old style hubcaps can be serviced.  

New style (no plug or sight glass) cannot be tampered with.



Friday December 30, 2005

We have just concluded the best year in Expediter Freight System, Inc.’s history. This accomplishment is due in large part to the group of drivers working with us. Your professionalism shows up in all facets of our business, from the out of service inspection rate (below the national average) and the on time deliveries, to the way we interact with our customers, the public, and most of all, with each other. I know that I speak for each of us in the office when I say how proud I am to be associated with this group. Thank you for a job well done.


                                                                                    Most Sincerely, 


                                                                                    David Kaufman



Friday January 06, 2006

A new year has begun and this is a perfect time to look at the way that we do our jobs and find ways to improve. Driving is the area where we most affect public safety. First, please realize that it is unnecessary to exceed the speed limit. If traffic is going slower than the posted speed limit, you should not go faster than the flow of traffic. However, just because traffic is going faster than the speed limit, you are not entitled to do the same. You must look out for public safety even when the public is not. Tailgating is an extension of moving with traffic. Keep your distance. If you are being tailgated, keep extra distance so the tailgater has room to stop without hitting you. Stay in your lane; this is not a problem unless you are trying to go faster than the traffic in front of you.


One fact about a new year is that we will get bad weather. You must take the initiative and slow down; pull off the road and park if the conditions become too bad. Let’s have a safe new year.


Buckle that seat belt every time you get behind the wheel.



You should have received an IFTA decal, cab card, and the single states registration in the last two weeks. If you do not have these, call me and I'll get them to you.




Friday January 20, 2006

The dictionary definition of the word safe is as follows: “freedom from hazard; not apt to cause or incur danger or harm.” This definition embodies the reason that we maintain safe speeds and safe following distances. Another area that we need to consider in order to uphold this definition of safe is the ice and snow. Clean your windows and mirrors completely. Don’t allow ice and snow to make blind spots that don’t have to be there. Also, pay attention to snow and ice build-up on your tail lights; this is a problem with LED lights because they do not have the heat that old style lights have. The object is to see and be seen. One last caution to be aware of is the ice on steps and grab handles. Use both grab handles to help catch yourself if you slip on an icy step. If we can always pay attention to things like these, we can define ourselves as being safe.



Winter is an especially good time to buckle that seat belt.




Friday February 10, 2006

You all have fire extinguishers and reflective triangles for safety in your trucks, but do you have the necessary personal safety equipment? In your truck, you should have a hard hat, leather work gloves, safety glasses, long denim pants, a long sleeve shirt, and leather shoes, preferably steel toed shoes. Some mills and job sites won’t let you in without them. There is very little cost in acquiring this equipment; it is well worth the cost when a glove takes a cut instead of your hand or when something hits the safety glasses instead of your eye. Don’t forget to use your most valuable piece of safety equipment: your seat belt.    



Something to remember: What you say on the CB is heard by more than the person you are talking to; don’t share load information with our competitors. 



Friday March 24, 2006



The front of each and every load must have an extra strap. If you have a split load, then the very front of the load and the front of the back stacks must EACH have an extra strap. This also applies to bagged goods.


The DOT requires you to log all stops over 7 minutes. This includes all fuel stops, police, and DOT stops.


The log sheet must be complete to the current stop. In other words, fill out the log sheet and draw the lines to the current time of day before you put the truck in gear to move.


The DOT requires bill of lading numbers on the log sheets.


Expediter Freight System, Inc. requires starting mileage, ending mileage, and mileage anytime you cross the state lines.


Also remember that seat belt use isn’t just smart, it is required.




Friday April 7, 2006

We all need to be aware of our biological clocks in order to determine when we will be most effective.  Usually, we know the time periods of the day when we will be more energetic and when we will be more lethargic.  Research shows that the time periods where we will most likely feel sleepy is between 2-5 p.m. in the afternoon and between 2-6 a.m. in the morning.  Many times though, we are driving or working during one or both of these time frames. 


To be a safer driver, we need to be aware of when we will most likely feel drowsy and take extra care during those times.  This may include taking a short break from driving or scheduling your off-duty time to take place during that time (if possible). 


We need to keep these issues in mind when we are driving, especially when we are hauling long mileage loads.  A less fatigued driver will result in fewer accidents and make it safer for everyone.


And always remember to buckle that safety belt!



Friday April 14, 2006

Intersection accidents can result in serious injuries and can cause extensive physical damage to your truck and trailer.  Often, these accidents involve failure to exercise protective driving procedures when approaching and entering an intersection.

Follow these guidelines to help avoid intersection accidents:


1. Know that all intersections pose similar hazards.  The rules are always the same whether or not the intersection is posted with a sign or traffic lights.  Be aware of the other drivers and the surroundings, and do not assume that the other drivers will see you.


2. Allow enough time for the rear of your truck to clear the intersection.  It can take up to 14 seconds for your truck to complete a turn and accelerate to highway speed. 


3. Come to a complete stop at the intersection when approaching a stop sign.  Look left, then right, and then left again before proceeding through the intersection.  Make sure that there is no conflict with other traffic.


If we follow these guidelines, then we can all be safer when driving through intersections.

Remember to always buckle that seat belt and have a great Easter Weekend!



Friday May 12, 2006

Cell Phone Safety:


Cell phones have enhanced our communication over the last few years.  However, cell phones can become a distraction while driving.  When on the phone, we usually do not have our full attention on the road and the environment around us. 


When using a cell phone, keep the following in mind:


?         Use the cell phone when parked in a safe area.  This is not always possible but certainly the safest way to make a call.

?         Be aware of traffic conditions before answering or making a call.  For example, it is not a good idea to take a call during heavy traffic. 

?         Be familiar with the phone’s features.  Having to scroll through several menu options just to make a call can become an unneeded distraction.  Speed dial can help make quicker calls to people who we call frequently.

?         Use a hand-free device.  This enables us to keep both hands available for driving. 


If we can keep these things in mind, then we can lessen or eliminate the chance of having an accident while using a cell phone.  Although we shouldn’t always be on the phone while driving, we should always be wearing our safety belts. Buckle up. It’s the law.




Adverse Weather:


Recently, we have been hit with several severe storms in this area.  These storms have included tornado warnings, heavy rain, wind, and hail.  As drivers, we need to be prepared for these conditions when they occur.  This can include driving at a slower speed than normal or getting off the road entirely.


We also need to be aware of the other drivers on the road during these conditions.  Some people may become panicked and drive more erratically.  This behavior may include braking unnecessarily and swerving when sight is limited.  At the same time, there will be those drivers who will disregard the conditions and drive at regular or excessive speeds.  The unpredictability of the other drivers during these conditions makes it even more difficult to drive during adverse weather.


We cannot control the weather or how others will drive but we can control our own driving during bad conditions.  Being prepared and aware of what to anticipate is an important factor.  If we can all take this into account when driving during inclement weather, we can make it a safer road for everyone.


Remember, no matter what kind of weather, we always need to buckle our seat belts while driving.



Friday June 2, 2006

Truck/Trailer Security


According to the National Security Council, cargo theft accounts for more than $10 billion in lost merchandise every year.  Although flatbed freight is not a high interest theft item, the other smaller items in your truck or trailer could be.  This could include tarps, maintenance equipment, phones, and other personal items.  To help prevent theft, you should keep the following in mind:


?         Maintain control of your equipment.  Keep your truck locked when you are not in it and park in an area where you will be able to keep a visual of your equipment while you are away from it.


?         When you are on the CB airways, remember that other people will be able to listen to what you say.  Be careful about how much information you send out regarding what is in your truck.


?         If feasible, equip your truck and trailer with anti-theft devices.  This can include steering locks, fuel and electrical cutoff switches, and locks for air hoses and fifth wheels.


Unfortunately, we will always have people who will commit theft.  If we can take the proper precautions, theft will not be an issue for us. 





Friday July 22, 2006

Road Construction


Summer is here and there are several construction projects happening on the roads.  This usually means reduced lanes and more traffic.  Follow these guidelines when driving in construction zones:


?         Follow the posted speed limit!  This is usually 10-20 mph lower than the normal limit.  Fines are steeper in these areas and cops are not as forgiving.


?         Be aware of cars that will try to changes lanes quickly to get out of the way of the construction.  Unfortunately, these motorists do not always give advance warning.


?         Be aware of the construction workers and their equipment.  Keep in mind that in these zones, visibility may be impaired.


Driving in construction zones is something that we will always have to deal with.  Keep these guidelines in mind to prevent accidents from occurring.  Remember to always have your seat belt buckled.



Rear-end accidents


Rear-end accidents are the most common type of vehicle accident and usually the most preventable.  The reasons rear-end accidents typically occur are because the driver followed too closely, drove aggressively or recklessly, or had worn brake equipment. 

The following are guidelines to help prevent rear-end accidents:


?         Maintain a six-second following distance.  Remember it takes over 300 feet to stop when driving at 55 mph.

?         Drive within the speed limit.  More time and distance are needed when you are going faster which gives you less time to react to your surroundings.

?         Check brake systems.  Test your brakes to make sure they are working properly and adjust them as needed.

?         Be alert.  Many distractions (cell phones, eating, day dreaming) can limit our attention while driving. 


Rear-end accidents can be expensive. More importantly, they can cause injuries to yourself or others.  Keep these guidelines in mind while driving to help prevent these types of accidents.  Also, remember to make sure that your seat belt is always buckled.



Brake early


When coming to a stoplight, you can race with the cars to the light and brake quickly or you can brake early. I recommend the early braking for two reasons: safety and fuel economy.  If you see a stoplight down the road and start braking while traffic is still moving at speed, you will have room in case of brake problems. You also create space in case someone in front of you isn’t paying attention and crashes. The other advantage to early braking is that you can stay back and keep moving as the light changes and save fuel getting back up to road speed. 


Remember seatbelts are required, buckle up - don’t get a ticket.



Friday July 29, 2006

Road rage has been named by the DOT as one of the most serious transportation challenges in this country.  Over half of all annual traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.  Aggressive driving is defined to include driving actions such as passing on the right and tailgating. 


During the summer, road rage can become more of issue due to an increase in motorists and road construction.  These issues may make it more difficult for a driver to maintain emotional control.  As professional drivers, it is vital that you operate in a manner where you do not let negative emotions take control of you.


Remember that not all motorists are perfect and sometimes they will do things to make it difficult for truckers.  Most of the time, they are doing this without realizing the ramifications of what may happen.  The key is to remain calm and not let road rage occur when this happens.  So, keep the emotions in check and always keep the seat belts buckled!  



Friday August 4, 2006

Defensive Driving:


Practicing protective defensive driving techniques will reduce accidents and make it safer for everyone on the road.  Usually, it is the little things that we do that contribute to safer driving.  Here are some things to remember:


?         Do not block lanes

?         Never tailgate

?         Always use signals

?         Use horn only when needed

?         Limit lane changes

?         Always merge properly

?         Drive with a professional attitude


Remember that the safest thing that we can always do is buckle the seat belt!



Friday September 22, 2006

Photographing an accident scene:


We provide you with cameras in case you are involved in an accident.  Hopefully, you will not have to use your camera but you should know what to do when involved in an accident.  Follow these steps when using your camera at an accident scene:


?         Have your camera in an accessible place (keep it in the truck)


?         Take pictures of the entire scene.  Include all angles of all the vehicles or other things involved.  Take pictures as far back as possible and also include close-ups of damage. 


?         Take pictures of road signs, road conditions, skid marks and witnesses around the area.  Use your discretion to take pictures of anything else around the area that may have contributed to the accident.


Follow these steps to get accurate photo documentation.  Please use all of the film in your camera.  Safety begins with you--buckle that seat belt.




Stress Reduction


Driving while under stress can impact your physical and mental well-being.  When you are under stress, negative things such as aggressive driving and road rage may happen.  You will experience different levels of stress everyday.  How you react to it is mostly up to you. 


The following tips can help reduce stress while driving:


?         Allow adequate time for the trip.  The factors to consider are your route, weather, traffic, length of time required, and hours of service regulations.


?         Create a comfortable environment.  Try to keep your cab clean and organized.  Keep phone numbers and pickup/delivery information in a place for easy access.  Listen to the radio or music that will not cause distractions.


?         Use protective driving technique.  This includes driving with a professional attitude, limiting land changes, merging properly, using signals, and never tailgating. 


Never try to create more stress on yourself.  Some things are out of your control.  Buckling up is always in your control so buckle that seat belt for safety!



Friday September 29, 2006



Having a good attitude is important for this business.  There are many things that we cannot control--traffic, unexpected maintenance issues, dangerous motorists, and how fast we can get loaded and unloaded.  The thing that we can control is our attitude.  Unexpected situations may arise and it will always be more beneficial to remain calm and keep the proper perspective.


Great West Casualty emphasizes having integrity as a driver.  This means doing the right thing all of the time.  This may include acts such as yielding your lane to let merging motorists on the road or keeping your composure around a dangerous motorist.


Having a positive attitude will help you through the day and will definitely help when things happen that are out of your control.  Thank you for maintaining integrity and a proper attitude.  And, thank you for always having that seat belt buckled!


Reminder:  Safety Meeting is Saturday November 4!



Friday October 6, 2006

Stationary objects


Avoiding stationary objects can be one of the biggest hassles when pulling in or out of a jobsite.  These incidents are also the most avoidable; the object is already there and your only required to drive around it.  Sometimes, there is someone who is directing you into the jobsite.  While he is probably looking out for your best interests, he may not care if you hit a stationary pole or other object nearby.  This would end up being the fault of the driver regardless of whether he directed you into it or not.  It is always better to get out and look for yourself.  See what may be in your way and give yourself plenty of room to move.  


Avoiding stationary objects is something that you can control.  Always use extra caution in these situations and these types of incidents need not occur.  You can also control putting on the seat belt so always have it buckled!





Friday November 17, 2006

Accident Scenes:


Accidents can be a stressful experience. When involved in an accident, it is important to remember certain procedures.  Use the following as a checklist if you are involved in an accident:


?         Remain calm and have an accident procedures checklist ready to use.

?         Get yourself and others around you in a safe location.  Make sure no one is injured and use warning devices to alert other motorists.  If people are injured, be cautious when providing assistance--let qualified medical personnel handle serious injuries.

?         Report the accident immediately.  Notify the police and your insurance company.

?         Exchange information with other people involved in the accident.  This includes:  name, address, phone number, insurance carrier.  Obtain information from other people who were witnesses.  Do not readily admit guilt, and do not say “I’m sorry” at the accident scene.

?         Take photographs.  Use the camera we provided to you to take pictures of everything that was involved in the accident. 

?         Thoroughly inspect your truck to ensure that it is safe to continue to use.  Also, take into account your own emotions before you get back on the road.  It may be better to take a break for awhile.


Knowing and understanding the procedures can help make an accident less stressful.  Having your seat belt on can also prevent or reduce injuries.  So, keep it buckled—it’s the law.




Safety issues should always be on your mind.  Please remember the following also to ensure a safer and more organized trip.


?         The front of each and every load must have an extra strap. If you have a split load, then the very front of the load and the front of the back stacks must EACH have an extra strap. This also applies to bagged goods.

?         The DOT requires you to log all stops over 7 minutes. This includes all fuel stops, police, and DOT stops.

?         The log sheet must be complete to the current stop. In other words, fill out the log sheet and draw the lines to the current time of day before you put the truck in gear to move.

?         The DOT requires bill of lading numbers on the log sheets.

?         Expediter Freight System, Inc. requires starting mileage, ending mileage, and mileage anytime you cross the state lines.


Please keep your log sheets up to date and send them to us every week.  Also, remember to keep up with your maintenance logs and send those to us every month. A seat belt is required on every trip--so keep it buckled.



Friday December 8, 2006


Winter Driving:


Winter is here to stay.  Now would be the appropriate time to check windshield wipers, heater hoses, and anti-freeze levels. Also now is a good time to check your safety equipment. You need a full fire extinguisher, properly mounted in the cab, and working triangle reflectors. Draining all of the air tanks on both the tractor and trailer can prevent a service call for freeze up. If you don’t have a working air dryer, bleed off the water at least once every day. Another winter consideration is tire pressure. Remember that tires lose pressure as the temperature drops and low tire pressure effects fuel mileage. You should also store extra clothes and blankets in case of a breakdown.  Be prepared for this colder weather and always wear that seat belt.


As I write this week’s safety talk, I am reading about a school bus crash that killed three people and injured many others.  Apparently, a car came too close to the bus and it caused the bus to swerve and lose control.  The bus then plunged 30 feet and hit a concrete barrier nose-first.


This is a very tragic event that did not need to happen.  I do not have all of the information, but I can almost guarantee that the motorist in the car was following too closely.  He certainly did not mean to cause this, but now this will be something that he will never forget.  In the safety meeting, we saw how a person was affected who was involved in a similar accident.  It becomes something that you can never forget.


Unfortunately, accidents like this happen.  The best thing we can do is be a defensive driver on the road -- do not follow too closely, anticipate what other drivers may do, and always wear a seatbelt.  On holiday weekends, there will be more motorists on the road than usual.  Please be aware of this and drive safely.



Friday December 22, 2006



Christmas is just a few days away.  As you probably noticed, the traffic in some areas has increased in the last few weeks.  This will probably continue until the New Year.  Please keep in mind that many of these motorists are in a hurry and are trying to get their Christmas shopping done or they are on their way to a Christmas party.  Either way, they may not have all of their attention on the road.  Please be aware of these “holiday drivers.”  Their actions may be more unpredictable around this time of year.


General Reminders:


Please keep a hardhat, long sleeve shirt, safety glasses, leather gloves, long pants, and leather shoes (preferably steel-toed) in your truck.  You never know when you will be on a job site where you will need these.


January begins a new quarter.  Please remember to have your trucks inspected every quarter.


Have a very safe and Merry Christmas!