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April 19, 2014

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Big Rig Blog

Your Truck Has an Accomplice Stealing Your Profits

I promise you, this is not an article that has anything to do with trucking policies or politics, but it does have a villain that conspires with your truck to steal money from you on a consistent basis.

 

You already know this ne’er-do-well. You might occasionally even like the eccentric, old coot, but he’s still stealing you blind. While that description may resemble any number of people, you know him simply as … the weather.

 

• While the winter weather extremes often amplify conditions that cost you fuel and replacement equipment, make no mistake, it happens all year around; good weather and bad. What equipment is most likely robbing you of fuel? Well, as you probably already suspect, it’s your tires. As you travel from warmer states, where your tires may be at around 110 lbs PSI, by the time you get to a frigid state, your tires are probably setting at only 85 to 90 lbs. This is due to the thermal contraction of the air in your tires, which causes you to lose mileage because they’re under inflated and have greater friction with the road. Worse, they’re now going to wear faster, as well as unevenly, so they’ll be costing you in faster equipment replacement cycles - and tires are expensive. Now multiply that by 18!

 

The over and under

 

• Most drivers take care of the under-inflation problem when reaching their cold weather destination. However, what was 110 PSI in cold weather is inching toward 125 PSI when that you’re back in the warmer climates. This isn’t something one thinks about as much as low tire inflation, so it can go unnoticed for quite a while. Your now over inflated tires are, again, wearing unevenly. They also have a smaller footprint on the road, so don’t have the proper surface area for the braking you need to quickly stop a load. So, short of spending 30 minutes of every single day equalizing your tires, how do you stop the weather from stealing even more money from you?

 

Auto-inflation system

 

• An auto tire inflation system for your tires is probably going to be the best solution. These systems not only add air to your tires when they’re low, they release it when a certain pressure has been attained. In short, you get your time back you used to spend equalizing your tires; your truck gets better mileage and braking because the tires are inflated properly – no matter what climate you’re in. And, finally, you get to spend more of those rolling hours making money, instead of adjustments.

Why does my phone battery keep dying so quickly?

Let’s face it; as haulers, our mobile phones are now our link to the rest of the world.

 

We even get a bit nervous when we leave the phone in the truck, or at home. If you’re like most, you’ll even drive back to the house to get your phone, as opposed to doing without it for some length of time.

 

• Often we’ll keep them on a charger nearly all of the time, just in case we’re in an area where there is no place to keep it charged while we’re using it. Besides using a non-approved charger for the device, this is one of the worst things you can do to your phone battery. Eventually, your battery begins to lose the ability to hold full charge, and the more you try to keep it continually charged, the more it loses the ability to charge.

 

• Phone, computer and tablet batteries are designed to be charged and then discharged. By breaking the discharge part of the cycle, your phone battery begins to degrade; so much so, in fact, that you can actually see and feel the damage to the battery when you remove it. Normal batteries have a flat, rectangular shape, but damaged batteries feel like they’re swollen, and will even spin for some time when spun on a flat, level surface.

 

• Unfortunately, the only thing you can do – in a reasonable amount of time, is replace the battery that has lost the ability to hold a charge. This can be done at any phone store that carries your model, or any battery store. Most of these places are rather easily found, so a quick repair is usually at hand.

Will Your Next Rig Be Rolling On Natural Gas??

Natural gas seems to be your next viable fuel for the long haul trucking industry.

 

With CNG running nearly $1.50 cheaper by the “gallon”, some of the country’s largest fleets are moving to natural gas. But there’s a catch. Most of the fleets switching are short haul (read: in town), so they don’t need infrastructure built out over the entire country. They only need to have a supply where they park their vehicles for the night. Everyone from UPS, to Lowes and Waste Management are converting their heavy-duty trucks to natural gas. In fact, roughly 5% of the heavy trucks sold next year will be built around natural gas.

 

• That said; what about the long haul industry? Well, Cummins and Volvo are both working on those types of trucks, but as you might have expected, it’s going to be more expensive to build. Manufacturers are blaming the increases on the type of tanks required to hold the natural gas safely – although new tank manufacturers are beginning to appear, which should drive the price down. There are other costs, as well. There are technology requirements to overcome and the lack of lubrication provided by the fuel itself. Even with these obstacles, Cummins started selling their 12 liter natural gas engine in July, so the future is now on the market. Now, will they be able to entice drivers/owners away from diesel. Again, that depends.

 

• Besides the cost, the main reason there is a distinct lack of natural gas long-haul trucks is because of a near total absence of infrastructure at truck stops across the country. Pilot/Flying J are working on the problem, but when does everyone else join the fray, and thus, lower the cost to access? With diesel stubbornly refusing to drop in price any time soon, and even cheaper natural gas on the way, it looks like you just might be shopping for a new fuel when you start shopping for a new rig.

How Are Your Driving Skills At 100+ Miles Per Hour?

It’s cold, and absurdly early on this Las Vegas morning, but 30+ people couldn’t be happier.

 

Not just because it’s Vegas, but because East Coast Truck and Trailer is hosting their Richard Petty Driving Experience again. If you’ve never been, the Richard Petty Driving Experience is a race car thrill ride you control - starting at 100+ mph!

 

• Every year, the folks at ECTTS ask a number of their friends and customers to come out for the driving experience of a lifetime. This is a chance to drive a car as fast as you can – without any fear whatsoever of a ticket. In fact, the faster the better! So much so, we keep track of the stats.

 

• The day starts with a facility overview of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There’s roughly 1,500 acres to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, consisting of over 10 tracks. There’s the 1/2 mile World of Outlaws dirt track, the quarter mile NHRA drag racing facility known as “The Strip” and the 3/8 mile “Bullring”, which is the home track of NASCAR superstars Kurt and Kyle Busch as well as Brendan Gaughan – just to name a few.

 

•Now, before you’re allowed to put a 600+ HP car through its paces, you have to go through safety and instruction and in-car/on-track training. This isn’t just a formality if you’re driving these beasts, this is absolutely necessary. You need to know how the brute you’re going to be doing your best to control will handle in a curve, or “out of the groove.” You’ll hear from the instructors/drivers just what you’re going to feel, and at what speed. They know these finely-tuned monsters; they drive them every day.

 

• Now it’s your turn at the wheel; right? Well, first you’ll be taken on a ride-along to get a feel for the track, and experience the car “at speed.” You get to see what it feels like to take a curve as fast as possible without slamming into a wall. Then you get to feel the acceleration push you into the seat – when you’re already doing over 100 mph! You’ll amusedly remember when you used to get a thrill punching the accelerator on the family sedan to pass a sluggish truck. And this is just the instructional phase.

 

• “OK, this should be easy”, you convince yourself, as you climb into the driver’s seat. What you don’t understand – until you try it for yourself, is that the instructor made it look easy because of their experience. For you, getting this race car up to something even close to 130 mph is taking some work. Not that the car won’t do it, but because you’re having a tough time getting up the nerve to go much faster. Way too soon, this thrill ride is over, but you get a chance to see just how much bravado you had. After it’s all over, you get a packet that includes a time sheet with a breakdown of every lap you drove on the track.

 

Finally, at the end of the day, ECTTS holds a dinner for their friends, employees and customers. The food’s good, but the stories and laughter are even better. Let’s face it, half the fun of this type of outing is comparing how you did with the rest of the guests. The only problem lies with the inevitable request to see the hard copy of your exploits, to confirm those “enhanced” tales of the track. Chris Kelly, one of our customers, posted this year’s top speed at 141 mph! We’ll keep the lowest speed to ourselves, so as to keep the embarrassment to a minimum. As we said earlier, we do keep track of the stats.

 

 

Keep safe, and keep rolling.

 

 

Are You Killing Your Diesel Particulate Filter?

You’re 25 miles out of the truck stop; settling into the long haul, and then the regen warning light comes on - again!

 

You know you just did a parked regeneration to clear the diesel particulate filter yesterday, and you’ve been driving this rig at speed today, so shouldn’t the filter be clean? Well, probably not. Here’s why:

 

• Unless you’re running a disposable filter system, which are a must in the mining industry and some off-road equipment, the DPF is probably still clogged, but not with soot. The DPF works by trapping soot and other particulates in a network of cells before releasing the smaller gasses through the pores in the filter structure (usually cordierite or silicon carbide). The DPF, like any filter, eventually gets clogged with this material. Unlike other filters, this filter can usually be easily cleared – either while you’re on the road, or parked, by simply heating the filter to the point where the soot burns off to become gasses that pass through the filter. The problem arises when other particles besides soot become trapped in the filter. While hydrocarbons burn, metals and other contaminates from oils in the exhaust don’t burn off at the temperatures used for regeneration, so you end up with a clogged filter – even though you’ve just done yet another regen.

 

• Why does this happen? The heat from the regen can cause the metal particles to simply fuse into solid masses (sintering), and like the metals, the non-soot particles aren’t going to burn off either. In some cases the filter itself is damaged by the heat being created by the regen. As regeneration happens at temperatures around 850 to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, and damage happens to some filters at 1200 degrees, the range between clean and damaged can be fairly narrow.

 

•When the filter becomes clogged with metals and ash; from burning contaminates, it creates high backpressure and triggers a warning on the dash that gets progressively more severe until the truck computer finally throttles back the power – in some cases severely. Filters that become substantially clogged with ash go through what’s called compacting, which can cause filter and engine damage, if not corrected quickly. Overriding the regen causes this compaction. To avoid those consequences, regen every time, on time. Note that the filter will still eventually become clogged with particles other than soot. So what’s the solution? It’s time to have the filter professionally cleaned, as opposed to just clearing the soot.

 

• Sometimes known as de-ashing, the filter cleaning process begins with an inspection, and then moves through the steps of testing, pneumatic cleaning, thermal regeneration (about 12 hours) and a final air flow test. At the end of the cleaning the air flow test will tell whether it passes for continued use, or needs to be replaced. How often you regen, vs. letting your filter compact with particulates and ash, can greatly affect the usable life of your filter. Similarly, having your filter removed and cleaned regularly increases its lifetime, so this step should be an important part of your regular maintenance schedule.

 

• Finally, this is not a do-it-yourself job you want to tackle. Unless you have the proper equipment, and knowledge, it will just end up being a very expensive lesson in what not to do yourself. Dealerships and service centers nationwide offer DPF cleaning services; take advantage of it on a regular basis to keep your filter and engine operating at its best.

 

 

 

Keep safe, and keep rolling.

 

Drastically Extend the Oil Drain Intervals for Your Rig!

Every mile counts. As a hauler you probably hear and say that often. Miles are money, and when you can keep rolling, instead of paying for yet another oil drain - in money and downtime; those miles can pay for more of what you really want.

 

The Solution

 

So, how do you go about extending your rig’s oil life? If you’re like some, you keep idling to a bare minimum. Others depend on advanced formula oils, and expensive synthetics that extend the life of the oil with formulation and additives. While this works, to a certain degree, still others have found a way to keep from draining their oil unless absolutely necessary. The key to long oil life is an oil bypass filter.

 

• Oil bypass filters (OBF) are a proven way to keep your oil clean and dramatically reduce the wear on your engine. This isn’t new technology. Having been around for close to twenty years, this is an established equipment system you can use to make more money in the field immediately. Haulers using oil bypass filters change their oil infrequently and still have the maximum protection from their oil. Oil’s life is dependent on just how badly contaminated the oil becomes. It tends to gather any number of pollutants throughout its usable life - soot, fuel, metals and moisture. All of which can considerably shorten that oil life, and the life of your engine. An oil bypass filter virtually eliminates those contaminants because it puts your oil through a filter the removes particles down to 1 to 3 microns, and evaporates others so they don’t reduce the oil viscosity. This is far superior to only having a factory installed full flow filter, which only filters down to 20 to 25 microns. Even particles that size can damage your rig’s engine.

 

• The OBF works in conjunction with your standard full flow filter; not in place of it, so there is no loss in oil pressure. Typically, an OBF will filter about 6 gallons of oil per hour, and is connected to the engine oil supply downstream of the standard engine oil filter. In turn, the oil is treated by the bypass filter system and gravity fed back into your oil pan. It has a separate housing for the filter unit, with a replaceable filter medium, as well as a heat chamber to evaporate fuel and moisture from the oil; thus removing even more contaminants that can affect the ability of your oil to reduce friction. Oil Bypass Filters to 1 micron

 

• It is an additional piece of equipment to buy for your rig, and you will have to purchase and replace your filter at certain intervals. Additionally, you will have to have your oil tested to maintain the best possible oil condition. You will find, however, that oil testing and filters are readily available at the maintenance facilities you’re probably near on a consistent basis.

 

• The system, on average, should pay for itself in under a year with the benefits of extended oil drain intervals, reduced oil purchases, reduced waste oil costs and reduced rig downtime. That said, this system seems like a no-brainer. So, keep your oil cleaner, rack up those miles, and spend your cash on something besides oil.

 

 

 

Keep safe, and keep rolling.

 

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Make an Additional $50,000.00 a Year From Your Rig!

   

Everyone wants to make more money at their job, but very few people have the opportunity to give themselves a $50,000.00 raise per year. You, as an owner/operator of a tractor trailer, have that opportunity. You’ve probably heard any number of these recommendations before, but we’ve put them all together - and done the math. If you want results, some bad habits need to be broken and some equipment needs to be installed. Let’s start with 5 realistic ways you can make much more money with your rig.

 

Stop idling!

 

You and I both know drivers that have bad habits. First, there’s idling. Of the 24 hours available, 11 are over the road and the other 13 are consumed idling – usually just for convenience. While there are any number of reasons to reduce idling as much as possible, including laws in some states, consider this:

 

• Idling reduces the useful lifetime of your oil. You have a standard lifetime of around 600 hours of operation for over-the-road driving with each oil change. Continuous idling can reduce that to a mere 150 hours! How much are you paying for a standard oil change? How often do you want to be paying for one? Idling at around 625 RPMs allows for buildup of unburned fuel on the cylinder liners, which is drawn in by the oil sump. This contaminates the oil and shortens the life of the fluid as a lubricant. You’re now paying for more oil changes, more fuel and more engine maintenance; this is your money lost. Even if you choose a higher idling rate to combat some of the oil contamination, you’re now using even more fuel to idle, and you’re still paying more for maintenance, so your costs are still piling up.

 

• You’re not making money from your fuel if you’re idling. Drivers want to drive. That’s how money is made, but there are mandatory down times. What your truck is doing while on that down time is where your money is going; especially since a one-man driver is on downtime more than driving time every single day. Some drivers think of it as a necessary evil, and create the most comfortable environment possible while burning up to a gallon of diesel an hour. That’s almost $50.00 per day in fuel that’s not making you money. Multiply that by the average truck work year, and that’s around $14,000.00. Stop idling unless absolutely necessary and you start making more money.

 

• So, what do you do about it? Install a small generator that runs from your fuel tank, or a separate tank. You can have a very comfortable cab, as well as run your electrics from a small, very efficient generator. There are also electric plug-ins available at numerous truck stops and rest areas, so drivers can be comfortable in any weather, and the heaters can keep the fluids at start-up temp. It actually takes about 14 hours for an engine and fluids to cool to ambient temperature once the rig is shut down, depending on the outside temperature, so worrying about a cold start usually isn’t the problem. There are a host of other solutions out there as well, from solar, to AC battery solutions that will reduce your idling time significantly.

 

Break bad habits!

 

Ride with enough drivers and you’ll know most seem to have one or two major fuel wasting habits. The first one is almost always their speed. Yes, the load has to be there on time, and drivers want to get the most miles out of their 11 hours, but what if you knew for a fact that dropping your speed from 75 mph to 65 mph would make you $18,000.00 more per year in fuel savings? That’s right; by dropping an average of 10 mph, drivers can gain as much as 1 additional mpg. The difference between the maximum fuel economy RPM and the maximum horsepower RPM range can be as small as 200 RPM. Find out the range for your truck, and take advantage of it. If your average is 6 mpg, plug in 7 mpg to your yearly fuel usage, and see how much more you can make with your truck/fleet just by slowing it down some.

 

Another bad habit is running out of the top gear. If you are in the top gear less than 90% of the time, you’re paying for it. Poor shifting habits make for huge losses in fuel. Ten percent less time in the top gear translates into 0.5% mpg losses. And, of course, there’s sudden stopping and fast acceleration to make matters worse. How bad is it? There’s a 30% loss of fuel mileage associated with poor driving habits when a driver exhibits all bad habits at once. Let’s see how that translates into what you could be making. Using our average mileage for an OTR rig of about 6 MPG, with a 30% loss for poor driving, that makes it in the neighborhood of 4.8 MPG. How much do you save with good driving habits? Conservatively, about $30,000.00 per year if you compare fuel usage at each of those values for one year.

 

You’ll notice we’re well above the $50,000.00 mark at this point, and there’s still more to come. So why am I giving you a lower estimate? Not all drivers, or all trucks, exhibit all of the same problems. Some have good driving habits, but poor idling behaviors; others, vice versa. Still more problems can be isolated to the equipment itself. Which brings us to…

 

Update your Equipment!

 

With the exception of poorly maintained equipment, of all the things that make a truck expensive to operate, the lack of aerodynamics can be one of the worst. If your truck/fleet is still hauling without improvements in aerodynamics, you need to do a cost analysis on the return this equipment provides.

 

The highest estimate for updating your truck with aerodynamic equipment is that it can add up to 12% to your MPG. That takes your mileage from 6 MPG to 6.76 MPG, with a fuel savings of around $14,000.00 per year. Yes, you will spend several thousand dollars for an upgrade, but that’s a one-time investment that pays you again, and again, over the life cycle of the rig. Additionally, not every upgrade is available for every type of rig, so your results are going to vary with the amount of aerodynamics you can, or do, install. Some equipment you might want to review includes:

 

A Trailer Gap Reducer and Trailer Side Skirts

A Trailer Boat Tail and Trailer Side Skirts

Advanced Trailer End Fairing

Advanced Trailer Skirts

Tractor Aerodynamics Package

 

Finally, there are low rolling resistance tires. These tires are already required in California on all tractors, and are a coming requirement for all trailers in that state by 2017. This sounds like bad news, but for the small additional cost of each tire, there are significant returns. Just as the shape of your truck contributes to greater resistance, so does the design of your tire. Low rolling resistance tires can improve your MPG by up to 8%. Again, taking our average rate of 6 MPG, and adding another 8% to the equation gives you around $9,000.00 per year.

 

If nothing else, this information should help you determine where to begin to start making more money. If we’re being realistic, each item has its own associated expense. If you’re the driver, you’ll have to spend time relearning good driving habits, determining just how much idling you actually have to do, and how much time you are going to spend in down time to do the upgrades on your rig. If you have drivers working for you, you will have training costs; upgrade costs and management expenses to continue a successful program. If you’re interested in making more money from your business, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

Until next time; drive safe and work seen.

 

Are You DEF?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid systems are becoming common, and many haulers understand that it’s supposed to be good for the environment, and gives you better fuel mileage, but more drivers would like a better understanding of the system before they buy into it. In this month’s edition we’ll take you inside to see what the system is comprised of, what the system actually does, how it works and whether it will save you money over the long haul.

 

The diesel exhaust fluid system is fairly straight forward. It has a DEF storage tank, lines to the DEF dosing valve, decomposition reactor, selective catalytic reduction chamber and slip catalytic chamber. This is just a series of long descriptive names that hide a simple concept. Change one noxious gas {Nitrous Oxide (NOx)} coming from your engine into two harmless gasses {H2O and Nitrogen} coming from the exhaust.

 

As opposed to a fuel additive, DEF is actually an exhaust additive. This is the reason for the separate tank. The tank is usually made of plastic, as the diesel exhaust fluid is composed of 67.5 % water. The plastic tank allows for freezing (DEF starts to freeze at 12 degrees F), and corrosion protection. A metal tank would rupture in the cold because of the water, and corrode because of the second ingredient used in DEF -- 32.5% urea! It should be said that this is an industrial grade urea that is colorless, and can have an ammonia odor to it, but is non-toxic, and safe to work around. Interestingly, the proportion of each allows them to thaw together in proportion so there are no higher concentrations of either ingredient when thawing.

 

The system works by introducing the fluid after the exhaust has been through the particulate filter. Once the exhaust passes through the particulate filter, the diesel exhaust fluid is sprayed in a fine mist through the DEF dosing valve. With a 2% consumption rate, you will use about 1 gallon of DEF for every 50 gallons of fuel burned. From there, the exhaust moves to the decomposition reactor, where the urea and water react to become ammonia. Further down the line the exhaust and ammonia meet a catalyst chamber where the heat and the catalytic reaction create a combination of water and nitrogen gas for exhausting. Some systems will have an additional catalyst chamber to mop up any remaining ammonia called a slip catalyst. Fairly simple, but it works.

 

So, does this system save you money? The short answer is - yes. Why? With the DEF system, it allows for tuning the engine to the point where you get between 5 to 7 % better fuel efficiency. Additionally, you get more torque. Unlike some other systems used to control NOx, the DEF system allows the diesel engine to run at its optimum range in terms of fuel mixture – some other NOx reduction systems require the engine to run richer, which can be harmful to diesel engines. Some even older technologies used diesel fuel for the system, cutting your mileage even further. Additionally, with DEF, you’ll have to have fewer oil changes. How would you like to have to only change the oil after 1000 hours of operation, as opposed to every 10,000 miles? There’s a truck manufacturer that recommends just that. That’s money in your pocket.

 

On the down side, you will have to keep the DEF tank full, because if it goes empty, your truck will slow to a crawl until you re-fill that tank. My advice would be to carry a spare container, even if there are now over 3500 DEF retailers with everything from 1 gallon containers to pump type applications.

 

Finally, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring all service, public transport and fleet vehicles to switch over to Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) technology, this is one of their few programs that actually can save you money.

 

 

Until next time; drive safe and work seen.

 

Slow Down. Move Over!

Imagine working in an industry that makes the “Deadliest Catch” fishing industry seem like a cruise ship vacation. If you’re reading this, chances are good you already do! As a tow driver you work in an industry where you’re practically invisible - until it’s almost too late. In some states, you’re also invisible to the law telling people to slow down and move over when passing an incident or emergency on the highway. Even though tow drivers, like emergency workers, suffer more than twice the average occupational injury and fatality rates compared to all other industries, some states don’t require drivers to slow down and move over for a tow driver. More on that problem below.

 

Tow driver’s fatalities, injuries and near misses on our highways happen far too often. Ask any driver and you’ll hear a story that will raise the hair on the back of your neck, quickly followed by a knowing head shake and probably an explicative. In some cases, it’s a miracle they survived to tell the tale. Some didn’t.

 

With the exceptions of Hawai’i and the District of Columbia, 49 States now have the “Slow Down Move Over” law in place, but we still lose not only law enforcement officers and emergency responders, but tow drivers and civilians on an almost daily basis. Why? According to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission, 71 percent of Americans have never heard of “Move Over” laws. Not knowing about the laws also means those same people likely don’t know the proper procedure when passing an incident/emergency scene. Quite simply, if you’re in a lane beside the incident, slow down first, and then attempt to move over - if it’s safe to do so. In that order. If you can only slow down, do so. Other reasons for these senseless deaths include drunken driving, texting, daydreaming, and simple inattention to surroundings when passing an incident.

 

Even though tow drivers are usually on the receiving end of motorist thoughtlessness, it’s also important to remember that we drive these same roads as a civilian ourselves. While practicing very safe operating procedures when working, they’re often forgotten while out in our non-working lives. Far too many times I’ve been a passenger in the car with someone who should know about the law (read: driving professional), and yet I see little, if any, effort to slow down and move over when they pass an incident.

 

While no official statistics on the deaths of tow drivers specifically, industry estimates range from 50 to 70 tow drivers killed on an annual basis. A simple internet search returns dismaying examples just over the last year:

 

o Jun 30, 2013 - A local tow truck operator was killed while he was in the process of towing a vehicle on Interstate ten.

o Jun 11, 2013 - KUSA - A man was killed Tuesday afternoon when he was hit by a semi truck as he was attempting to tow a vehicle.

o May 4, 2013 - MIAMI (CBS Miami) - A tow truck driver assisting a car was hit and killed by a third vehicle that fled the scene.

o Feb 12, 2013 - MALIBU, Calif. (KTLA) -- A tow truck driver was killed in Malibu Monday night

o Aug 28, 2012 - An 18-year-old Smithville, MO, tow truck driver was struck and killed while out of his vehicle on Interstate 35 near the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.

o Dec 9, 2012 - A tow-truck driver helping a stranded motorist along the 405 Freeway in Long Beach was killed early Sunday after he was struck by a drunk driver.

o COLTON, California – J&S Towing truck driver Jesus Salcedo, 56, of Colton was struck and killed late Friday afternoon while assisting the driver disabled vehicle

 

Unlike police, fire and rescue, which are protected by the slow down move over law, tow drivers aren’t covered by these laws in all states. So, which states don’t protect tow drivers with laws when they’re the only ones at the incident? Surprisingly, there are nine:

 

• Alaska

• Louisiana

• Maryland

• New Mexico

• New York

• North Dakota

• South Dakota

• Texas

• Wyoming

 

Working an incident is always a fluid situation. While you always have to have one eye on traffic and another on the job at hand, the states above make it even more difficult for tow drivers to come home at night. If you live in one of these states, speak with your legislator.

 

So, how do you protect yourself while you’re out on the road? Three words. High visibility equipment. Your lights, work clothes and temporary traffic control equipment should all be high visibility; the brighter the better. Don’t work on the traffic side of the incident, if possible. While this isn’t always possible, this is the reason you want to have high visibility equipment. Your movement, because noticing activity is a function built into our brains, combined with the bright clothing creates better visibility for other drivers.

 

Until next time; drive safe and work seen.

 

 

 

 

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