01.09
2019

Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Certificates

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have long had to comply with various safety precautions to ensure they’re alert on the road during long drives and amid poor driving conditions. One of these mandates is a clean bill of health.

The National Registry of Medical Examiners was created to reduce highway accidents according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Requiring CMV drivers to have up-to-date medical certificates is based on various reports, such as National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) crash investigations, which indicates that improper medical certification of CMV drivers with serious disqualifying medical conditions has directly contributed to fatal and injury crashes.

A school bus and truck collision in New Jersey illustrates the importance of certified medical examiners, according to the NTSB. The school bus driver involved in the crash received his medical certification in January 2012, before medical examiners were required to have training. The FMCSA had no regulatory authority over the examining doctor, there were no federal training or certification programs to ensure that examiners were familiar with the regulations, and there was no national registry of examiners. However, examiners were expected to exercise good medical judgment and carefully evaluate each person on whom they performed a physical examination (Herner, Smedvy, and Ysander 1966).

According to the investigation, in this case, the medical examiner, a chiropractor, never saw the school bus driver before and did not obtain medical records or consults from the driver’s primary care and specialist doctors. The extent to which the medical examiner verbally discussed the driver’s chronic low back pain and diagnosis of alcoholism (and alcohol abuse), which are underlying potentially disqualifying conditions, is not known. Moreover, it is unknown to what extent he discussed the prescription medications he was aware of, even though he wrote on the commercial driver’s license (CDL) form that they do not interfere with driving. Therefore, the NTSB concludes that the CDL medical examiner did not thoroughly evaluate the school bus driver for medical conditions that could have disqualified him from receiving a CDL. The NTSB also concludes that based on the school bus driver’s combination of medical conditions and use of multiple prescription medications, it is likely that he would not have been medically certified to drive a school bus if he had fully disclosed his medical history on the CDL medical certification.
While it’s impossible to know what a driver’s habits are on a daily basis, it’s crucial to put measures in place to ensure the safety of vehicles and passengers on roadways, as illustrated by the New Jersey crash.

Along with required medical examinations by now-certified medical examiners, as well as the newly passed Hours of Service legislation, there are other measures companies themselves can institute to ensure driver safety. GPS tracking has long been a popular tool to maintain watch of driver behavior — which would have been impossible pre-technology. Now, for pennies a day, fleet-based companies, or any business who uses drivers to deliver services or goods, can monitor a host of behaviors.

What can I monitor?

  • Driver speeds
  • Idling
  • Fast braking
  • Travel outside of authorized areas
  • Rapid acceleration

Each of these behaviors can be set up to alert managers and office personnel so that a driver can be notified that they are breaking a rule and must modify their behavior before an accident or other liability happens. Moreover, weekly or monthly reports can be created to get a snapshot of driver activity, to compare behavior from month-to-month or to compare drivers with each other.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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11.21
2018

Don’t Let the Weather Freeze Your Pockets

As the temperature drops, everyone’s bills begin to rise. Of course, energy bills go up as many try to avoid the frosty outdoors. But have you noticed an uptick in how much you spend on fuel for your vehicle in winter?

The freezing weather (20 degrees F) can drop a car’s gas mileage by about 12 percent when compared to normal performance at 77 degrees, according to a study done by FuelEconomy. For shorter trips, it can drop as much as 22 percent.

How does the weather affect fuel consumption?
There are multiple reasons fuel economy is reduced in frigid conditions. One reason is that the friction from the icy conditions can make it more difficult for a vehicle’s engine to perform. It’s also more difficult on engines if you work in an area that requires your vehicle to plow through the fluffy white stuff.

Much like how we desperately wait for a vehicle’s heating unit to warm up in the cold, the engine itself requires a warm-up to get to a point where it’s at peak performance. That takes time — and fuel — for the car to get to that point.

But hybrids will be okay, right?
Actually, the same study done by FuelEconomy showed hybrids can have their fuel economy reduced by as much as 34 percent when the weather is below freezing, compared to the vehicle’s normal performance. The main reason hybrids do worse is the computer that monitors fuel economy can see a drop off in performance due to freezing temperatures. Hybrids also suffer from the issues a conventional vehicle faces in the frigid conditions. Basically, the same system that helps your fuel consumption in a hybrid may be its downfall in the cold.

The human factor
There are driving habits that can burn up fuel as well. Turning on a vehicle and waiting half an hour for it to heat up, of course, will burn up fuel. Idling has been proven to have a mileage of zero miles to the gallon.

However, there are some other factors we might not even consider. The more trips a vehicle has to make in a day will take its toll during the winter. Each time a car is shut off and subsequently turned back on it requires energy to do so and that, of course, is gasoline.

Solutions
So what can be done to avoid frequent trips to the pump while the weather outside is frightful?

Plan trips to avoid unnecessary stops. The more you fire up the engine (especially if the engine sits for a while and gets cold), the more precious energy it takes to get the vehicle going. Try to get everything done in one go, if possible, and try to reduce the total distance traveled per trip.

Check the tires. The weather can have a strain on the air in a vehicle’s tires because cold, dense air causes the tire pressure to drop below an efficient level.

Don’t let the pedal hit the metal. The more accelerating drivers do the quicker fuel is burned up. Each time the engine revs up it’s like tossing a few nickels of gas money out the driver-side window.

At Actsoft, we unfortunately can’t control the weather, but we can help you be efficient despite the conditions. We can help monitor driver habits and make sure drivers aren’t needlessly accelerating or breaking hard on the snowy streets. We can make sure the money Jack Frost is trying to take from you stays in your pocket rather than being lost to the icy roads.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you through the cold season?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar

10.11
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Transportation

In the wake of a brutal natural disaster, supplies are in critical demand. Before power restoration and rebuilding comes the provision of emergency aid to those in need, which often times comes in the form of bottled water, medicine, and food deliveries to shelters, and the transportation industry plays an essential role in accomplishing this.

Bringing goods to areas that have been hit hard by a volatile weather system isn’t always easy, as road blockages, flood waters, felled power lines, abnormal traffic patterns, and other obstructions can impair efficient delivery. However, transportation companies that offer assistance in scenarios like this can use Actsoft solutions to mitigate operational hindrances, and better help people that have been caught in some of nature’s most destructive potential.

GPS Tracking

Even after a storm has passed, there’s still a significant level of danger in reaching areas that have been damaged by blistering winds, torrential downpours and structure-devouring storm surges. Our GPS Tracking feature helps transportation companies monitor the near real-time positions of their employees, fleet vehicles, and assets, and enhances driver safety by keeping administrators constantly in-the-know about their locations. Should an emergency occur on the job, supervisors can know exactly where any of their dispersed employees are, making emergency situations much more manageable.

Dispatching

Mobile technology and Actsoft innovations work together to bring dispersed workforces into a more connected state. If adjustments in delivery assignments need to be made on the fly, our Dispatching tool allows administrators to contact their drivers nearly instantly through integrated desktop-to-smartphone communications. With relief efforts requiring high levels of flexibility, Dispatching is a valuable asset for 21st century transportation companies to have in their repertoire, especially during times of catastrophic weather.

Traffic Overlay

After a weather event like a hurricane has ceased, it may take a while for traffic patterns return to semblances of normalcy. Emergency deliveries, however, don’t have time to wait when the public is in dire need of survival supplies. Using Traffic Overlay, a recent enhancement to our Encore solution, organizations can see near real-time congestion patterns on their live view GPS map, and then select the most efficient routes for their drivers to take to affected areas.

Extreme weather phenomena are often unpredictable. Let the power of our solutions revolutionize your transportation business into the most productive, efficient, and versatile version of itself, and provide disaster-stricken areas with unparalleled assistance during aftermath recovery.

 If you’d like to donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Michael disaster relief fund, click here.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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08.22
2018

ELD: The Future of Transportation

Automation is the name of the game in 2018.

Businesses are increasingly in search of ways to take old, cumbersome processes and revamp them into contemporary forces of efficiency, and transportation companies in particular are a prime example of this trend. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are becoming viewed as the true future of the shipping industry as a whole.

Demand for reliable ELD technology stems from the need to standardize the methods in which transportation companies go about complying with federal regulations. The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA) has instituted mandates called Hours of Service (HoS) that require corporations to record and report certain information about their employees’ driving data. During roadside inspections, operators of semi-trucks must meet certain criteria derived from their logged information, particularly as it relates to drivers getting adequate amounts of rest. These HoS regulations were designed in part to help improve road safety, and reduce the potential for drivers to fall asleep at the wheel during lengthy cross-country travels.

If a corporation’s drivers don’t comply with HoS mandates, their business risks having to pay costly fines, or even worse: they may risk higher possibilities of car crashes involving employees. Injuries and lawsuits from roadway accidents are two things that all transportation companies seek to avoid as much as possible, which makes ELD an especially valuable tool of the 21st century.

ELD solutions help to improve operations for transportation companies by automating the logging of driver data, making it easier than ever for them to avoid HoS infractions. Our ELD solution is powered by VisTracks, and it relies on a unique software/hardware combination to track driving information. Through minimal training requirements, on-screen documentation tools, and easy-to-use administration features, our solution remains one of the most intuitive on the market.

With Actsoft’s fully FMCSA-certified ELD application, allow your company’s drivers to focus on driving safely and efficiently by digitizing their driving information. Let our solution eliminate the hassles of logging travel data, and in turn increase your team’s productivity, accuracy, and bottom line savings today.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar