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From fireworks to theft: what truck drivers need to know on July 4th

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

The Safety Analytics module in DIRECTOR gives you the insight to develop a driver safety program that measures risk and communicates safe driving practices across your business.For most Americans, the Fourth of July is a carefree holiday filled with fireworks, barbecues and pie-eating contests. For truckers, it can unfortunately mean an increased risk of collisions and higher rates of cargo theft. Below are some seasonal driver safety tips and tricks for having a pleasant and safe holiday.

Transporting fireworks? Read this.
The FMCSA issued a temporary ELD exemption for members of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) transporting fireworks for the 4th of July holiday. The waiver is in effect June 28 - July 8.

Protect your cargo
The week of July 4th is, historically, notorious for cargo theft, with rates 120 percent higher during the holiday week compared with the rest of the year. Though rates may not be as high this year as the holiday falls mid-week (and cargo theft tends to be worse on weekends), it’s still a smart idea to take some precautions. 

  • 71 percent of cargo thefts occur in unsecured parking lots, so do your best to keep loads at secure company yards.
  • Make sure your truck is secure. Consider air cuff locks if your trailer is hooked to a tractor.

Stay cool
With high temperatures in the forecast for many parts of the U.S. this week, it’s all too easy to get dehydrated or overheated in your cab. Here’s how to avoid that:

  • Keep plenty of fresh water handy to stay hydrated and keep your body temperature down.
  • Use sunscreen: even though you’re inside a vehicle, sunburns can easily occur from sun exposure through windows and windshields. Coat up with a layer of SPF 30 sunscreen or higher. And if you don’t usually wear sunglasses on the road, invest in a pair.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions: pleasant summer weather can change on a dime, to thunderstorms, tornadoes or hail. Listen to forecasts and drive cautiously if you encounter dangerous weather.

Drive defensively
AAA forecasts 46.9 million Americans will travel 50+ miles away from their homes during the holiday week this year, mostly by car. That’s a 5 percent increase over 2017, and all those extra vehicles on the road means there’s an increased chance of a collision. The worst part? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports July 4 is also the deadliest driving day of the year, with alcohol and an increased number of motorcycles on the road contributing to the toll.

Besides driving defensively, one thing drivers can do to avoid the increase in traffic and risk is to request/suggest that their dispatchers do not schedule loads during the ‘graveyard shifts from the hours of 10 pm and 5 am on the night of July 4th and early morning of July 5th. If the load absolutely needs to be carried, the dispatchers can look for the drivers that are closest in order to minimize time on the road during these hours. Doing your best to stay off the roads during the peak drunk-driving hours on this dangerous night is a wise choice.

To stay safe on the roads on the Fourth, take some trucker-approved safety tips from a few of our #Truckers4Safety contest winners:

  • “Pay attention and do not drive fatigued. Leave in enough time so you do not have to rush. Following distance is so important. If every driver would remember during rush hour that the space they see is not an opening for them to jump in and out of traffic. During busy traffic hours if everyone would have more patience and stop trying to pass the next vehicle we would be able to travel so much smoother.” - Janice Cross
  • “When in heavy traffic just pick a lane and stay in it. Jumping back and forth from lane to lane is just an accident waiting to happen, and go just little slower let everyone else pass you. Always run a dash camera.” - James Howard

For more on how fleet managers can promote safety, check out our Driver Safety Solution:

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