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December 15, 2015

The Business of Trucking

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued more than 800,000 commercial truck violations on highways and at weigh stations.

Large companies that use their own fleet of trucks to ship products must take on a large responsibility in following national and local regulations on commercial vehicles.  Pak West has its own fleet of trucks in California, and Shipping Warehouse Manager Gary Smith spends a good deal of time ensuring his department and drivers are compliant.

In California, State regulations are overseen by the California Highway Patrol. Trucks and drivers are regulated.

For trucks:

1) Mandated pre-trip walk-around inspections must be done by the driver to ensure the truck is in good operating condition before it leaves the docks.
2) Cargo must follow weight limits and weight distribution within the trailers and over the axles. If trailers don’t pass inspection at weigh stations, they will be held, and companies must send another truck/trailer and divide the load at the station.
3) Pak West trucks are equipped with GPS devices and will soon have electronic log books to ensure accurate mileage, speed, and starts/stops.

For drivers:

1) Big rig drivers must have the appropriate driver’s license. A “Class A” license in California allows for the driving of all types of commercial vehicles.
2) Regulations limit the amount of driving time and ensure minimum rest time.
3) Mandatory drug and alcohol testing is randomly done once a quarter.
a. Pak West has a zero tolerance policy if tested positive, though this is not mandated. Some companies allow substance abuse courses for drivers if they fail.

For companies:

1) There must be driver safety meetings every 90 days.
2) The Department of Transportation gives seminars on safety and new regulations that Smith attends.
3) The California Highway Patrol does the Biennial Inspection of Terminals (BIT) Program, which requires companies/terminals to undergo inspection to rate their compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to carrier safety. Pak West has achieved satisfactory ratings with every inspection!

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So, if you see any of the Pak West trucks on a California road, you now know what goes into getting and keeping that truck on the road!

 

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