RSI’s Transportation Insights

Cargo Thefts in the Transportation Industry

Posted by Brandy Alvarado on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 09:45 AM

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11 Steps to Prevent Cargo Thefts

  1. Make sure that all security managers and drivers have accurate license plate, VIN, and descriptive information for tractors, trailers, 'chassis’, and containers. Police agencies will need this information to open an investigation in the event of an incident.
  2. Secure all trailers (loaded and unloaded) with high-security ISO 17712 compliant barrier seals in combination with hardened padlocks. Utilize king pin locks for dropped trailers.
  3. Secure all tractors with high-security locking devices, such as, air-cuff and tractor steering wheel locks.
  4. Remind the drivers to arriving at pick-up to be rested, fed, and to have their vehicles fueled.
  5. Avoid having loaded trailers sit unattended when employees are not present.
  6. Check to make sure that your logistics center is in good working order, including lighting, back-up generators, alarm system(s), surveillance equipment, perimeter fencing and any other type of barrier. If possible, hire extra security for the long holiday weekend.
  7. Remove keys from all facility equipment and place them in a secured location, especially motorized pallet jacks and forklifts. If time permits disconnect the batteries.
  8. Contact your alarm company and review your alarm response protocol and ensure your monitoring service has been tested and has up-to-date contact information.
  9. Never treat any alarm signal as a “false alarm”. When targeting warehouse locations, cargo thieves tend to trip facility alarm systems multiple times before breaking-in to give law enforcement and facility managers the impression that the alarm system is malfunctioning.
  10. Encourage documentation and reporting of all suspicious activity that occurs in and around a facility to security personnel and the CargoNet operations center. This information can be critical to law enforcement in the event of a cargo theft incident.
  11. Ask local police agencies to make routine checks of facilities during holiday down time.

Tags: intermodal, insurance, Cargo, Cargo thefts, RSI Insurance

W2 - Independent Operator - the Discussion Goes On

Posted by Karen Thomas on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 @ 10:00 PM

W-2 form The transportation industry is a busy one. If you own a fleet, drive a truck or are responsible for anyone transporting commodities intrastate or amongst the greater 48 states, it’s important to determine who is a full time employee versus who is working on his or her own. Distinguishing between a full-time employee and an independent contractor can require a quite a bit of analysis. Bringing an a legal professional to determine who is a full-time employee, a part-time employee and also a non-employee is often recommended as it’s a rather gray area to navigate through on the legal front.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Definition of an Employee and Independent Contractor is expressed as follows (adapted from the

Determining Whether the Individuals Providing Services are Employees or Independent Contractors

Before you can determine how to treat payments you make for services, you must first know the business relationship that exists between you and the person performing the services.

The person performing the services may be -

• An independent contractor

 • An employee (common-law employee)

• A statutory employee

• A statutory nonemployee In determining whether the person providing service is an employee or an independent contractor, all information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence must be considered.

Common Law Rules Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:

1. Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?

 2. Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)

3. Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?

Businesses must weigh all these factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Some factors may indicate that the worker is an employee, while other factors indicate that the worker is an independent contractor. There is no “magic” or set number of factors that “makes” the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination. Also, factors which are relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.

The keys are to look at are the entire relationship, consider the degree or extent of the right to direct and control, and finally, to document each of the factors used in coming up with the determination.

Form SS-8 If, after reviewing the three categories of evidence, it is still unclear whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding (PDF) can be filed with the IRS. The form may be filed by either the business or the worker.

The IRS will review the facts and circumstances and officially determine the worker’s status. Be aware that it can take at least six months to get a determination, but a business that continually hires the same types of workers to perform particular services may want to consider filing the Form SS-8 (PDF). If you classify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker (the relief provisions, discussed below, will not apply).

 See Internal Revenue Code section 3509 for more information.

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Announcements, Musings

The Not So Sunny Side to Truck Driving

Posted by Karen Thomas on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 @ 09:06 PM

sun damageWhat does skin cancer have to do with driving a truck? Quite a lot. Whether you’re an owner-operator or own a fleet of five hundred, SPF could be your best friend on the Open Road not just during the summer, but year round.   Truck drivers are exposed to UVB and UVA rays as soon as they step into the vehicle.  The long hauls leave the left-side of a driver’s skin exposed to long hours in the sun – even if the window is rolled up.  The short hauls are not necessarily safer in terms of sun exposure.  Exposure is exposure and sun safety is just as important as SMS scores – if not more.  

Skin Cancer Stats

According to the Center for Disease Control CDC) Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The following statistics refer to melanomas of the skin. Non-epithelial skin cancers, which are not reflected below, represent 7% of skin cancers that are tracked by central cancer registries. These statistics also do not include data for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, which are not tracked by central cancer registries.

In 2009 (the most recent year numbers are available)—

•61,646 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin, including 35,436 men and 26,210 women.*†

•9,199 people in the United States died from melanomas of the skin, including 5,992 men and 3,207 women.*†

*Incidence counts cover approximately 90% of the U.S. population; death counts cover approximately 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution when comparing incidence and death counts.

†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2009 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at:

Truck Drivers – Exposed

Many truck drivers are career drivers and log not just hours on the road, but decades on the road.  Overtime, continued sun exposure can lead to damaged skin and potentially skin cancer.  Many of those in the transportation industry (and other industries as well) may have seen a photograph of a 69 year old truck driver in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article portraying significant sun damage (resulting from continued exposure while driving on the Open Road.) 

According to, “While driving a delivery truck for the last 28 years, the driver was exposed to ultraviolet A rays through the window glass on just the left side of his face. The rays penetrated the epidermis and the dermis, the first and second layers of the skin, causing a condition called unilateral dermatoheliosis.

Dermatoheliosis, also called photoaging, refers to changes in your skin due to chronic exposure to UVA and UVB rays. The result is a gradual thickening and deep wrinkling of the skin.

 According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there are three main types of ultraviolet radiation. UVA rays can cause cells to age and damage the skin's DNA. They are linked to long term damage like wrinkles and can lead to some skin cancers.

UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns and are believed to cause most skin cancer. UVC rays are not present in sunlight and and not typically linked to skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays and up to 50 times more prevalent. They also penetrate the skin more deeply and are a major factor in skin aging and wrinkling.

The foundation's website says, "UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin's DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer."

The ACS also recommends protecting yourself from UV rays by covering up, wearing a hat and sunglasses to block the rays and by limiting direct sun exposure in the middle of the day.  UV rays are usually strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


Sun Exposure Solutions

Sunscreen.  The solution – simple.  The expense – nominal.  A bottle of sunscreen with UVB and UVA protection will last for weeks and cost less than ten dollars.  The ROI cannot be quantified.  The health of you or your drivers is tantamount and providing education and safer driving conditions that combat the harmful effects of sun exposure should be on top of the list of to-dos. 

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Insights

Cargo Theft Prevention Starts with You

Posted by Karen Thomas on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 08:28 PM

cargo containerCargo insurance policies are often taken out with limits of 100,000. That $100,000 limit is typically in place to replace stolen or damaged cargo while in transit. As most in the trucking industry know – there’s a lot that can go into anyone trailer and the values of the carried cargo can differ greatly depending on the commodity.

Regardless of the cargo price-tag though – there are enough crooks out there that every commodity is a target. Cargo theft is an important concern not only for financial reasons, but for the safety of those who intend to use those transported (and potentially stolen) commodities. Take for example prescription or over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, or infant formula.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) created a webpage that provides timely public notices concerning cargo thefts involving FDA-regulated products that have been stolen either from warehouses or tractor-trailers. According to the, “These stolen products may put American consumers at risk because they may not have been stored or handled properly or may have been tampered with while out of the normal supply chain, and therefore may cause harm. Stolen products may enter the supply chain as a result of illegal transactions by individuals and distributors,” (

Examples of such alerts include:

• Notification of Stolen Bayer Healthcare Aleve® Liquid Gels and Caplets Product (Ontario, California)

• Notification: Stolen Abbott Infant Formula Products (Ft. Worth, Texas)

• Notification: Stolen Abbott Infant Formula Products (Elmhurst, Illinois)

• Notification of Stolen Mead Johnson Infant Formula Products (Various Labels and Packaging)

• Notification of Stolen Reckitt Benckiser Health and Personal Care Products (Los Angeles, California)

Know Your Cargo

The first step in protecting your cargo is understanding not just its value, but whether or not it’s a target.

Your RSI Insurance agent can help you determine if your cargo is a targeted item and how best to protect it while in transit. What are some of the most coveted cargo commodities on the Open Road?

According to, “Prescription drugs, iPods and other small electronics aren’t all thieves target. In fact, CargoNet reported food and beverage items were the most commonly stolen items. Consumables represented nearly one-quarter of all reported thefts in the survey, while the two next-biggest categories, electronics and valuable base metals such as copper, each made up 15 percent of the total. Apparel and accessories round out the most-wanted list, making up 8 percent of reported thefts.” (source:

Cargo Tracking

There are hundreds of technological advancements that can help carriers and owner-operators track their cargo. There are also hundreds of not so technologically savvy ways to protect cargo. Chains, locks, and proactive route-planning can all aid in the prevention of stolen cargo. And then there are devices that involve telematics and vehicle tracking.

According to, the alliance between LoJack and TomTom – two such companies that specialize in vehicle tracking and telematics, “should increase the breadth and depth of safety, security and protection services available to fleets,while also offering the ability to improve routing, boost arrival time accuracy, and provide vehicle maintenance alerts – all while increasing security, such as by offering alerts for off-hour vehicle usage and crafting “geo-fences” to monitor route adherence.” (source:

Talk to your RSI Insurance Agent about your cargo and what concerns you most.

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, Return to RSI Home, Industry, Product Information, Musings

Good News About Los Angeles Transportation - Really!

Posted by Karen Thomas on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 @ 04:37 PM

Los Angeles TrafficThere are lots of reasons to love Los Angeles. The weather, the beach, the Dodgers & Angels, and access to some of the most exciting places to eat, see, be seen and just have fun. Did we mention the weather? What do Angelenos and even non-Angelenos seem to complain about the most in regards to the city’s not so appealing aspects? Transportation and everything under the transportation umbrella.

Believe it or not, transportation in the City of Angels is getting better by way of road repairs and public transportation options. According to The Quality Growth, “Los Angeles is the highest density metropolitan area in the country with the lowest number of freeway miles per person of any U.S. city. At the same time, it has the worst traffic congestion and the poorest air quality in the country. Yet Los Angeles, where the average driver wastes more than 82 hours each year sitting in traffic, also ranks first in the nation for traffic congestion (Texas Transportation Institute 1999) and air pollution (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1998). The Sierra Club (1998) describes Los Angeles as “the granddaddy of sprawl” and says that it is the “standard for the worst that sprawl has to offer.” (source:

LA Transportation Improvements

The Los Angeles Times published the following article highlighting several improved transportation hubs in the city. Union Station for example is described as “buzzing with commuters from the Gold, Red and Purple lines, MetroLink, Amtrak, Flyaway to LAX and the bus routes through Patsaouras Transit Plaza.

Meanwhile the Times reports that the, “westside subway extension is intended to beat out driving as the preferred mode of transportation on the 101, 10 and 405 freeways.The pedestrian-friendly small businesses that line Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards are development centers around which transportation can succeed -- not to mention that this line will connect the Westside and downtown nightlife. When the Purple Line extends to Westwood and beyond, it will fundamentally change the way Los Angeles thinks of itself. UCLA to downtown in about 25 minutes may be worth the projected $6.3-billion price tag.” (source:,0,3837497.photogallery?index=la-ol-westside-subway-extension-20130308.)

Pot Hole Solutions

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation not only maintains the city’s roads, it’s the city’s official public relations site as well when it comes to road improvements. According to LA’s DOT, there’s good news to share. The city’s site,, reports the following:

• Carpool Lanes on 405 Freeway between 10 and 90 Freeways: This $167 million project will construct northbound and southbound high occupancy vehicle lanes on a 4.1-mile segment of the 405 freeway. This project will widen freeways and 12 bridges, relocate ramps, rebuild local streets and the Palms Boulevard over-crossing, and construct auxiliary lanes and sound walls. Completion date: Winter 2009.

• Carpool Lanes on 405 Freeway between 10 and 101 Freeways: This $950 million project will complete the 405 freeway high occupancy vehicle lane system by constructing a northbound HOV lane between the 10 and 101 freeways. The project will provide five mixed-flow freeway lanes in each direction, reconfigured interchanges, widened and/or replaced bridges, 12 sound walls and about 45 retaining walls. Start date: Summer 2009. Completion date: Fall 2013.

Looking at the Glass Half Full

While there are plenty of reasons to complain about driving in Los Angeles, there is a bright side.  While having a convertible may lead to a more positive perspective when it comes to driving through LA, taking notice of the real improvements taking place whether it's pavement or public transportation are worth the acknolwedgement. 

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Announcements, Industry, Musings, Insights

Entrepreneurs of the Open Road - Owner Operators

Posted by Karen Thomas on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 @ 08:24 PM

owner operatorOwner operators are essentially Open Road entrepreneurs. These big-rig minded and business motivated professionals are not only the worker bee but can fulfill other roles including CEO, COO, CMO and of course the one to handle accounting. Being an owner operator is not easy work, and establishing an owner operator business in current economic conditions can be challenging as well. Entrepreneurs aren’t the type to rest on their laurels and let fear of success (or failure) stand in the way. An owner operator, life and business can be rich in many ways. For entrepreneurs looking to start up an owner operator operation, research and informed decision making can help make the Open Road a road to success. A Snapshot of Startup Stats Let’s be honest – the economy hasn’t been in peak form for half a decade now. According to the Small Business Association, the rate of new startups is down over the past three years because of the recession. From 2007 to 2010, employer establishment births dropped 12 percent from 844,000 to 742,000 (Source: Meanwhile the U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than fifty percent of new businesses fail by the fifth year (actually closer to sixty percent.) The stats can be daunting, but surmountable. An Owner Operator Primer Owning a commercial vehicle and operating it as a source of business are the main two components of starting and owner operator operation. Think of those two components however as the top and bottom piece of bread in a sandwich. There’s a lot that goes into building both a successful business (and sandwich.) The following tips are offered by established transportation businesses and knowledge sources. Equipping the Operation An owner operator must have something to operate. According to the Used Truck Assocation ( “ Purchasing the proper equipment is critical to a successful owner-operator business. According to successful veteran owner-operators, quality used trucks with a warranty are generally the equipment of choice. Used equipment is typically easier to fit within cash flow constraints and more readily sold should you decide after a period of time that the owner-operator life doesn’t work for you. Top priorities when choosing your equipment are: 1)Know the requirements for your haul: required truck specifications, type of terrain, any unusual operating conditions, your expectation for fuel economy, etc. 2) Determine your expected gross income, and be real about the true numbers. 3) Pick a quality truck dealership to work with; one that is as concerned about your success as you are. (source: Finance Options Any start up requires cash flow. Finding the right financing for an owner operator business can take a little research, but the options are out there. For example, Schneider Finance has helped thousands of individuals make the transition from employee to small business owner. Schneider Finance’s Smart Start Program includes the following tools for entrepreneurs: Low or no money down payment plans Used equipment protection plans Equipment Options Schneider Finance provides equipment options such as premium new equipment from leading manufacturers like Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner and Volvo. In addition, owner operators have access to low-mileage, reconditioned, gently used equipment. To learn more visit Schneider’s site, Setting budgets, purchasing insurance, and establishing clients are just a few of many things owner operators need to think about in addition to buying the rig’ and the first CB radio. As any entrepreneur will tell you – the fun part’s just beginning.

Tags: brake, Main Stage, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Product Information

Transporting Job Growth

Posted by Karen Thomas on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 @ 02:09 PM

Driver Shortage signThe weekend started out with good news. First – it was the weekend (good news for most people who work Monday through Friday.) And also – for those who aren’t working and looking for employment – Friday brought good news as well. Last Friday, the Labor Department (DOL) data showed a pulse last month as far as job creation is concerned. DOL stats show that employers added 236,000 jobs — far more than the 160,000 most economists had been predicting. And the unemployment rate fell from January's 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent — the lowest level since December 2008.

Transportation Jobs are Hot –and there’s a Hotline to Call! For those looking for work these days, the opportunities can feel scarce. Online job boards seem opportune only to fulfill email inboxes with false promises. Random networking events can provide a night of random appetizers but not always new jog leads. Navigating career paths these days is just plain tough – depending on the industry that is.

The Open Road is open for business and job seekers who aspire to careers in transportation have opportunities abound. Just call the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Jobs Help Line. Calling…202-366-1298 Within three rings a live person from Simply Hired answered to assist with job inquiries. Obtain further information from the DOT’s jobs help department via email at Or utilize the DOT’s job search engine via its site, www. and following these steps: Step 1: Identify the DOT Agency of Interest Step 2: Search for Current DOT Job Announcements Step 3: Apply An Employer with a Solid Track Record and Room for Growth The DOT not only employs almost 60,000 people across the country, in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) and its operating administrations and bureaus, it’s looking to fulfill more positions. Each DOT agency has its own management and organizational structure. The agencies include: Office of the Secretary (OST) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Surface Transportation Board (STB) Maritime Administration (MARAD)

Real Growth The transportation industry is one with the real demand for more professionals. Other sectors may appear to add jobs to the economy but many are seasonal or part-time. According to the Department of Labor (DOL) the U.S. trucking industry is expected to create more than 330,000 jobs by the end of the decade. But experts predict the shortage of qualified drivers could almost reach 240,000 in the next 10 years because of industry growth, retirements, recent regulations and competition from other sources, according to industry estimates.

In fact, trucking firms can’t staff quick enough. Not only are there jobs, there are incentives, bonuses, and quite a bit of negotiating power for qualified applicants. The Future Looks Bright (on the Open Road) The DOL reports that between 2010 and 2020, employment opportunities for drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks are expected to grow to 1.93 million jobs from 1.6 million.

During that period, the trucking industry is expected to create more jobs than all but seven other occupations including registered nurses (711,900 additional jobs), retail sales workers (706,800 jobs), home health aides (706,300 jobs), personal care aides (607,000 jobs) and office and other clerks (489,500). Job potential. Job security. Job incentives. The Open Road, skies, rails, and sea are all open for business.

Tags:, trucking, Announcements, Industry, Product Information

Rising Costs Loom Over a Fiscally Conscious Cliff

Posted by Karen Thomas on Mon, Mar 04, 2013 @ 06:12 PM

federal budget cutsYesterday morning (it was Sunday for those who had incredibly busy Mondays) and while many of us were sipping coffee over a preferred newspaper (or e-reader, tablet version), many of our elected officials in Washington DC had been working since the early morn as federal budget cuts began to take effect.  While what are becoming known as the budget wars continue to wage, the rest of us face budget wars of our own – both in business and our personal lives.  The cost of filling up a gas tank for example has been just one of many rising cost considerations (especially those that are deemed necessary in many of our lives) we’ve had to deal with so far in 2013. 

2013 Fuel Cost Trends

As of Friday last week, wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to end at $3.13 a gallon.  Analysts, economists, and oil industry professionals among others have noted that the likelihood that Washington will proceed with $85 million in budget cuts – cuts that will curb fuel consumption and continue to affect the price of gas.  

Fuel costs are likely not an isolated column on most economists’ spreadsheets.  For example, the continued rising costs associated with fueling our cars and trucks has lead to a demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles.   According to, engine prices have caused the price of fuel-efficient cars to increase.   Specifically,  “Consumers can expect to see an increase in prices for the Toyota Camry and Lexus CT. The Camry is expected to receive a $175 price hike and, compared to the previous year, buyers can expect to pay $3,000 more for 2013 Lexus CT 200h,” (

The Price Paradox

It’s difficult to pay for four dollar a gallon gas prices, yet purchasing a vehicle with a fuel efficient engine that would negate the high price of fuel comes with a fat price tag as well.  For many of us, cutting costs isn’t always an easy option. reported as well that, “Last summer’s drought is expected to effect the price tag of meat, poultry and dairy. Cereal and bakery products will cost more next year as a result of the drought. According to Dealnews, food prices are expected to rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent in 2013.” (source: (

And the paradox continues!  Health care premiums are expected to rise this year.  Human resource consulting firm, Aon Hewitt stated that health care premiums are expected to rise to 6.3 percent in 2013, up from 5.7 percent.  Meanwhile, it’s going to cost consumers more to buy groceries that would allow for the preparation of healthy meals (studies show those who cook at home are healthier than those that eat out more often than not).   Again, consumers are stuck between a rock and hard place and may be subjected to opting for the extra value meal at the drive thru in order to maintain the funds for medical insurance. 

While in business it’s generally necessary to spend money in order to see marginal growth, consumer spending is different.  The rise in cost of items that impact our livelihoods (for example, health, consumption, transportation) do not benefit consumers but instead handcuffs the ability for increased spending. 

Tags:, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Announcements, Industry, Product Information, Insights

Maintain Safe Driving Habits This (enduring) Winter

Posted by Karen Thomas on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 08:15 PM

Winter RoadIn one more day it’ll be the month of March and what does that mean? Spring! The spring season connotates warmth, growth, and renewal. On the Open Road, the spring seasons connotates thawed-out roads, warmer temperatures and safer driving conditions. While Spring is still a little more than twenty days out - truck drivers and drivers in general must deal with challenging driving experiences that are drawing out winter as long as they can. Weather Persisting… The weather report ain’t pretty. At least for those outside of Southern California. The Midwest, for example, is nearly at a standstill due to a severe storm system it’s enduring through the end of month (and hopefully not on further terms.) According to, “For the second time in a week, a major winter storm paralyzed parts of the nation's midsection Tuesday, dumping a fresh layer of heavy, wet snow atop cities still choked with piles from the previous system and making travel perilous from the Oklahoma panhandle to the Great Lakes. The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard. Up to 10 inches had fallen in and around Kansas City, Mo., by the time the snow tapered off before midday. Mayor Sly James declared a state of emergency. (source: .) From Illinois to Texas to New England states, truck drivers are faced with a severe snow storm that will affect business, but hopefully not safety measures. Safety Tips for Truckers in Wintery Weather While common knowledge, training and experience often kick in when encountering treacherous driving conditions, it’s never a bad idea to have a refresher on how to deal with roads ripe in winter weather. offers the following five tips for truck drivers to operate safely in difficult weather conditions. Slow down - At fault accidents are mostly due to excessive speed. Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often too fast for snow covered or icy road conditions.Take as much time as necessary..DO NOT HURRY! Speed kills. Keep a safe following distance- - Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of your truck, and beside your truck, when possible (approx. 1/4mile). Don't travel as part of a pack -- Traffic seems to move in 'packs' on the highway. Find a safe way to get away from the pack and travel alone, with the goal being to maximize the distance around your vehicle. Don't follow the tail-lights of the vehicle ahead -- When the snow is so heavy, visibility is low, seeing the tail lights of the vehicle ahead...means following too closely. Keep a safe driving distance back at all times, especially in bad weather. If the leader makes an error, you will too. Trucks can leave the road, and yours could follow the lead truck off the road! (source: Weather-related Driving Tips Cont. The offers the following tips to safely control a big rig (or any vehicle at that) during difficult conditions. In rain or snow conditions be sure to keep substantial space between your truck and the vehicle in front of your truck in case of an emergency stop. In bad weather, do not feel obliged to go as fast as the speed limit. Slower speeds are necessary to avoid rollovers, jackknifes, and collisions. Always keep tire chains on hand in case of snow or ice. Keep the fuel tank full during the colder seasons as water condensation can build up in the fuel line. Remember to take extra precautions on bridges as they freeze before roads do. (source: No matter what the weather, safe driving habits are always the way to go to protect drivers and anyone who utilizes the Open Road.

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, trucking, Return to RSI Home, Industry, Musings, Insights

Intermodal Insights

Posted by Karen Thomas on Sun, Feb 24, 2013 @ 08:29 PM

Supply chainIntermodal freight transport moves billions of dollars each and every year. For those unfamiliar with intermodal freight transport, it involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (rail, ship, and truck), without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes.

The benefits of intermodal freight transport are not only economic, but environmental as well. The cost savings comes from less cargo handling (cargo handling costs a lot of money!) With less form of transportation involved with the movement of cargo, comes a reduction in greenhouse gas emission as well. Tracking the performance of intermodal freight transport is on the shoulders of independent and governmental organizations that compile and analyze relevant statistics.

The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA)

IANA is North America's leading industry trade association representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry. The IANA compiles and provides a Market Trends & Statistics Report that relays its research and analyses on intermodal industry data. In addition, access A standard set of charts that provide valuable, consistent, and recurring snapshots of the industry. Analysis of the U.S. economy and its potential impact on the intermodal industry.

Ongoing reports of service enhancements and capacity improvements that keep you abreast of the latest industry developments and advancements. Detailed information on select key corridor lanes. Movements by various equipment sizes and ownership. Trucking statistics include truck capacity analysis, truck load originations, current trucking indicators, heavy duty truck utilization rate, and trucking analysis & forcasting. (source: 

Week over Week Intermodal Activity

The Journal of Commerce is a publication that has provided (and still continues to) information and marketing services provider for the domestic and international containerized cargo community for 186 years. That’s more experience, insight and knowledge that could fit on a resume, let alone a complete encyclopedia set.

As it reports on its official site, the JOC delivers high-quality intelligence and expertise to help customers make better business decisions - in print, online and face-to-face at leading industry events. In addition, the JOC provides best in breed marketing channels to help companies reach their target audience…and the following February intermodal report: For the week ending Feb. 9, U.S. intermodal volume rose 7.7 percent year-over-year to 244,679 trailers and containers, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Carload volume in the sixth week ending Feb. 9 dropped 2.3 percent compared to the same week last year to 273,369 carloads. (source:

Tracking Intermodal

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is the government’s established statistical agency and reports on the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). The BTS to administers data collection, analysis, and reporting and to ensure the most cost-effective use of transportation-monitoring resources. For example, the BTS provides reports such as: Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS) Tracks the physical and operational characteristics of the nation's trucks. The survey covers private and commercial trucks registered or licensed in the United States as of July 1 of the survey year.

(source: )

The importance of intermodal freight transportation is felt on many levels be it economic, environmental or just for the sake of statistical analysis.

Tags: brake,, Main Stage, trucking, Industry, Musings, Insights