Monthly Archives: June 2011

Are You Missing a Truck?

As reported in the Chicago Tribune:

An asteroid with the estimated girth of a 26-foot box truck sailed within 7,500 miles of Earth on Monday, June 27th as it passed harmlessly over the Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The space rock followed the path that scientists had predicted, looping around the planet in a boomerang-shaped trajectory, NASA spokesman D.C. Agle said.  Its nearest approach to Earth was 30 times farther away than the International Space Station.

We were wondering how this could have happened.

  • Did the driver’s GPS give him a faulty pickup location?
  • Was he on a clandestine rendezvous with a highly exotic girlfriend?
  • Was the truck propelled into space by a hyperactive lift gate?

If this is your truck, please let us know.  We can contact NASA on your behalf.

–The Editors

Indemnification Clause in Local Trucking Contracts

Many local trucking companies have been confronted with contracts containing an Indemnity clause.  It typically states:

“CARRIER shall at all times indemnify, defend and hold harmless BROKER, its parent, subsidiaries and affiliates, and their respective directors, officers agents and employees against and from any and all claims arising from the services provided hereunder (including, without limitation, claims for personal injury, death and damage to property, clean‑up costs from commodity spills and damage to the environment, whether or not caused by (a) by any agent or employee of CARRIER or (b) by any other person or entity.  The provisions of this Paragraph shall survive cancellation, termination, or expiration of this Agreement.”

This means that even if an accident is caused by the broker’s negligence, or shipper’s negligence, or by any reason whatsoever, the carrier is responsible to pay legal fees, claims, and judgments against the broker. Of course, this is very unfair.  The problem has been that carriers are rarely given a choice.  The attitude is typically, “sign this or forget about getting work,” and, because of business pressures, many sign.  Some insurance policies would not pay such a claim, so the carrier is risking its very existence by signing such a document.

Well, help is at hand in most of the USA.  During the past two years, most states have passed, or are considering passing, an “anti-indemnification” law.  The law invalidates any clause that forces the carrier to indemnify the broker.  If you live in a state that has passed “anti-indemnity” laws, you can safely sign contracts that contain the clause and know it cannot be enforced.

WARNING! If the contract states that it shall “be construed under the laws of …….”, with a different state filled in, make sure THAT state is one that has passed an “anti-indemnity” statute or you WILL NOT be protected.

To see a map of states which have passed “anti-indemnity” statutes, click here.

 

 

Hiring Qualified Local Truck Drivers

We here at the Local Trucking Blog have been hearing about increasing difficulty hiring qualified, experienced local CDL drivers.  Everyone agrees the CSA initiative (click here to see more) helps in weeding out unsafe candidates, but that is only part of the equation.  Certain skills are much more important to a local operation.

It is no big deal if a truck takes 15 minutes to spot a trailer after traveling five days cross country.  It is a very different story when you expect productivity of 20 stops a day.  This is why your test drive should include plenty of backing and spotting exercises.

Do you carry hazardous materials? Don’t count on the Hazmat license endorsement to tell you anything about what the candidate knows.  You should have a written test.

Same for other important skills, such as routing and emergency procedures.  A few math questions will help determine if they can accurately count a multi-pallet shipment.

Liftgates? Make them take a skid up and down.

E–track or logistics in your trucks?  Make them secure some freight.

Expect at least 50%, and possibly 80% of your driver candidates to flunk the test.  This is good.  It is always worth waiting for the best driver to hire instead of panicking and taking the best available candidate on hand at the moment.  Your company will be rewarded with lower turnover, lower claims, and higher productivity.