Trucking companies (or companies that just use trucks): Make the most of your industry associations

trucking associationStrength in numbers. The power of a team. A built-in support system.

No matter the size of your fleet, if you use trucks in any capacity, joining an industry association is a smart idea for your business. From big rig haulers to landscapers with a couple of light duty box trucks, the trucking industry has particular needs and a host of problems to solve, not to mention regulatory and legislative battles to fight.

Yes, you can go it alone, but why suffer through it solo when associations like the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) can help you “make things happen”?

Founded in 1920, MTAC is a fantastic, effective group that provides a host of services for its member businesses. Part of the American Trucking Associations (a federation of associations), its mission is to protect and promote the interests of the Connecticut trucking industry: In other words, your interests.

Obviously, the first step to success here is to join an organization like MTAC, but to really maximize your membership, you need to tap into the resources it provides. Consider being proactive in these five areas where an association can really benefit your business.

Education — Industry associations make it their business to know what you need to know to operate your business effectively. They can be founts of knowledge, with best practices information about issues such alcohol and drug testing, weight laws, driver qualifications, and vehicle maintenance, to name a few.

Driver Training — A best-in-class fleet has best-in-class drivers who are up-to-date on safety protocols and a wide variety of specialty areas, such as keeping cargo secure and knowing the ins and outs of braking systems. Industry associations offer the kind of training your drivers need to stay safe and productive.

Networking — Getting out of the office (and the truck!) and getting into seminars and gatherings is a great way to follow industry trends, find business partners and customers, and bounce ideas and concerns around with others who understand the industry. Trucking associations provide a full calendar of seminars, meetings, and other events that will help you make these important connections.

Lobbying — One of the most important services a trucking association will provide is lobbying on behalf of its members at the state and federal level. Though you don’t necessarily need to be climbing the Capitol’s steps, you do need to make sure your association understands your concerns. After all, they are there to represent you. Make sure your representatives know what’s on your mind!

Problem Solve — Industry associations exist to help your business thrive. They can help you work through thorny problems and they can help with things like supplying log books, driver qualification files, vehicle maintenance records and other compliance documentation.

Join your association, but don’t neglect it! Make sure you make the most of it.

P.S. Many of these offerings will help your business in one key area: keeping your worker’s compensation costs as low as possible. For more information, check out my recent [link] white paper, “How to avoid worker’s compensation claims in the trucking industry.”

Joe Pinto
Risk Management Consultant
jpinto@srfm.com

Joe Pinto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is a highway. Drive safe this summer

Marty SheaYou’ve been on the road for hours, hauling your load in the sweltering heat. The sun is so hot it crawls on your skin. You have only a few miles to reach your destination to get some needed rest when your rig starts to overheat.

Your day just got longer…. and hotter.

Summer driving for long-haul truckers present certain challenges. But there are ways to stay ahead of the game by protecting truckers from the heat and performing seasonal safety checks and basic maintenance on trucks.

Here are seven tips to keep your fleet in tip top shape and safe this summer.

Check your oil.  You want a cool engine during long summer hauls. Make sure there is enough engine oil to keep your truck engine cool and well lubricated. Check the gauge often to make sure the levels are adequate.

Keep your tires inflated. Tires wear out faster in hot temperature, so check your tire pressure before you head out on the road in order to prevent flats or blowouts.

Check your battery. Believe it or not, the heat takes a toll on batteries. Check your battery to be sure the heat is not evaporating the fluid and overcharging it.

Keep an eye on coolants. Check your antifreeze level. Keeping it in normal range will prevent trucks from overheating and creating engine trouble. Always remember to never remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled.

Check your brakes.  Make sure your brakes are working properly. Hot temperatures can compromise them.  The last thing you need is a brake issue as you are descending a mountain!

Keep yourself hydrated. Rigs need fluids to keep them running properly and so do truckers. Drink plenty of water. Keep bottled water with you while driving so you can hydrate yourself and avoid heat stroke and cramps.

Wear Sunscreen. UV sun rays are dangerous and can penetrate glass. Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, wear polarized sun glasses and wear long sleeves.

These are just a few tips for keeping your fleet safe on the road this summer- for more information on our Safety Training program for the Trucking Industry, drop me an email mshea@srfm.com