6 takeaways from UMA Safety Management Seminar

Last week I attended the UMA Safety Management Seminar. This annual event, made virtual for 2020, drew its biggest crowd yet, with nearly 300 participants attending the three-day virtual event.

“No stale coffee, no fighting for your seat,” joked UMA Risk Management Committee Chair Matt Dance.

The curriculum focused on a back-to-basics approach, which addressed how complex and multidimensional the industry is. Some of my takeaways include:

COVID-19 Liabilities. Attorney and industry legal expert Clyde Hart reviewed how COVID-19 will affect everything from operations to human resources for some time. Operators will be wise to secure knowledgeable legal counsel, Hart said, not just someone from the Yellow Pages. “This will be a cash cow for the next half-decade,” he cautioned. He advised operators to follow CDC, state and local guidelines and protections. So far, more than 200 cases in litigation have been filed regarding COVID-19 and buses. He urged operators to make sure the company provides employees the necessary PPE to maintain their health and that of your customers. At a minimum, he said to provide masks and distance.

Driver Files. Bob Crescenzo, Vice President at Lancer Insurance Co., recommended keeping only required information in the official file: application, medical and Pre-Employment Screening (PSP) for a criminal background check. Keep tax forms, drug and alcohol tests, discipline and accolades in a second file to avoid a 4-inch-thick official file. He recommended businesses ensure employees follow their policies and procedures. He also advised operators to “document, document, document” — a common theme among speakers. If it isn’t documented, it never happened, he quipped. He suggested putting someone in charge of keeping files up-to-date and making sure more than one person knows how to maintain the files.

Hours of Service. With Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), always document, said Mike McDonal, Director of Regulatory Compliance and Industry Relations with Saucon Technologies. Make sure drivers understand the definition of adverse driving conditions. If drivers use the Adverse Driving Conditions exemption frequently on ELD, it will raise a red flag that could result in a fine for a falsified log. It is better for operators to find if drivers misuse “adverse conditions” before the Department of Transportation does. The 100 air miles from base exemption previously used for ELDs is now 150 miles. Any work must be logged for driving beyond 150 miles. Hybrid drivers, such as bus drivers who drive trucks, now must take eight hours off after driving a maximum of 10 hours. Truck drivers need 10 hours off after driving 12 hours. All hours must be logged.

Drug/Alcohol Testing. Lancer Insurance Co.’s Bob Crescenzo recommended constantly reviewing and updating files. He posed the question, “Who is responsible now?” Crescenzo suggested operators document changes and catch up by Dec. 31, 2020. He also suggested operators ensure random testing occurs for the driver pool. Is your pool current? Are your tests up-to-date? Businesses, not the consortium, are responsible for pool data upkeep. Drivers who are removed from the pool and then rehired must have a pre-employment drug test, he said. Crescenzo also advised doing quarterly audits. With nothing moving, your pool goes down tremendously. For example, when a pool of 12 drivers drops to six, this requires three tests per year. If you find problems, first document what happened. Second, take action to fix it. And third, plan to prevent it from happening again.

New DVIR rule. A Driver Vehicle Inspection Report, or DVIR, is a formal record confirming a driver completed an inspection on a commercial motor vehicle. Under a new rule that took effect September 2020, if inspectors find no vehicle defect or hours-of-operation violation during a required inspection, no DVIR required. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made the change to save millions of hours and billions of dollars spent completing the no-defect DVIRS, according to Peter Chandler, Team Leader of FMCSA’s Commercial Passenger Carrier Safety Division.

Roadside Inspections. As Director of the Roadside Inspection Program for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), Kerri Wirachowsky trains both enforcement and the industry on the roadside inspection program. She highlighted the common defects found during roadside inspections. They include turn signals and other lights, failure to maintain, excessive oil and grease, emergency exit and out of service, brakes, wipers, and failure to have the annual inspection sticker in proper view. The most common hours-of-service violations include failure to transfer ELDs electronically, carry ELD instruction sheets, carry the ELD user manual, mount ELD property and carry blank log sheets. The majority of speeding violations were for going over the speed limit by just 6-10 mph.

Seminar attendees received access to slide decks from each presenter, along with recordings of the event. If you missed the Safety Management Seminar you can still benefit from this essential content by purchasing the recordings and slides of this three-day event. Purchase the recordings online.

Share this post