Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

Lower Truck Insurance With Pre and Post-Trip Inspections

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 10, 2024

We can help you lower your truck insurance. costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, and throughout PA. Call today. In 2022, there were 168,320 truck accidents, with 76,180 people injured. In 4,766 of these accidents, one or more people died. These accidents cost trucking companies millions of dollars annually, which is why Commercial Truck Insurance is crucial. However, if you want to keep your insurance premiums in check, you need to take steps to minimize the risk of your truck being in an accident.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, approximately 10% of accidents involving large trucks are caused by an issue with the vehicle. Pre- and post-trip inspection can help lower the risk of these accidents, reducing truck insurance and other costs. Furthermore, pre and post-trip inspections, along with a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR), are required by Federal Motor Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

What is a Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection?

Experts explain, "A pre-trip inspection is a thorough check of your vehicles before they hit the road to ensure everything is working properly. These inspections are designed to detect any potential malfunctions or failure points on the vehicle to both keep your drivers safe and prevent expensive repairs.

"These inspections can be performed by your mechanics before the drivers head out for the day and by the drivers themselves before they get behind the wheel. They should be performed every day that your vehicles are on the road and logged into a central database where they can be accessed and reviewed regularly."

Benefits of Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections

The benefits of pre-and post-trip inspections go beyond lowering Truck Insurance costs. They also help…

  • Ensure your trucks are running efficiently and at peak performance
  • Minimize the risk of breakdowns by spotting mechanical problems early
  • Prevent minor issues from becoming more expensive repairs
  • Keep your drivers and others safe
  • Keep vehicles from going out of service and drivers on the road
  • Maintain compliance with the law
  • Save money – insurance costs, more extensive repairs, lawsuits, legal fines, etc.
  • Reduce liability
  • Assist in claim investigations
  • Avoid negative publicity

Pre- and Post-Inspection Tips

Smart Trucking offers a comprehensive pre-inspection guide for truck drivers, but here are some things to check:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lights, reflectors, and signals
  • Tires
  • Suspension
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Fluid levels
  • Belts and hoses
  • Electrical and air lines
  • Gauges
  • Air brake warning system
  • Seat belts
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Emergency equipment
  • Applicable paperwork

Additional Tips:

  • Use a calibrated tire gauge (not the kick test)
  • Double and triple-check the brakes because 30% of vehicle component failure truck accidents are attributed to brake problems.
  • Develop a routine for pre- and post-inspections.
  • Budget at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Keep accurate logs.
  • Report potential problems immediately.

More Tips to Keep Your Vehicles Safe and at Peak Performance

Keeping your trucks safe and at peak performance should be an ongoing process and not end with the pre- and post-inspection. Here are some additional tips:

  • Inspect your vehicle when you stop for fuel (some drivers are required to do this by law).
  • Use all of your senses while driving to detect problems – listen for odd noises, pay attention to unusual odors, and notice if the handling or braking seems off.
  • Regularly change the oil.
  • Replace brakes about every 50,000 miles.

Don't Overpay For Truck Insurance!

The Truck Insurance experts at American Insuring Group ensure you get the right insurance coverage for your specific needs. As independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage with multiple  insurance companies to make sure that you don't overpay for Truck Insurance!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Trucking Insurance

How to Minimize the Risk of Cargo Theft

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 13, 2024

Reduce cargo theft and save on Truck Insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, York, and throughout PA.Cargo theft can increase Commercial Truck Insurance and other costs, and 2023 was a good year for thieves but a lousy year for trucking companies when it comes to cargo theft. In the second quarter of 2023, there were 566 cargo theft incidents in the U.S., a “57% year-over-year increase compared to 2022,” according to FreightWaves. The total value of those thefts was $44 million in goods, with the average shipment value per event at $260,703.

What is Cargo Theft?

The FBI defines cargo theft as “The criminal taking of any cargo including, but not limited to, goods, chattels, money, or baggage that constitutes, in whole or in part, a commercial shipment of freight moving in commerce, from any pipeline system, railroad car, motor truck, or other vehicle, or from any tank or storage facility, station house, platform, or depot, or from any vessel or wharf, or from any aircraft, air terminal, airport, aircraft terminal or air navigation facility, or from any intermodal container, intermodal chassis, trailer, container freight station, warehouse, freight distribution facility, or freight consolidation facility.

For purposes of this definition, cargo shall be deemed as moving in commerce at all points between the point of origin and the final destination, regardless of any temporary stop while awaiting transshipment or otherwise.”

Cargo thefts can happen anywhere along the transportation process; however, according to FreightWaves, most cargo thefts occur near warehouses and distribution centers, unsecured parking lots, and company truck yards and premises. Any cargo can be targeted – from expensive electronics to beverages and food. Cargo thefts can be carefully planned by a sophisticated group of thieves or, on the fly, by inexperienced thieves.

3 Common Types of Cargo Theft

  1. Fictitious Pickup – “This type of cargo theft relies on subcontracting the shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and having the shipment misdirected to another address,” Tank Transport Fictitious pickups are on the rise, according to FreightWaves, with 127 more year-to-year in the second quarter of 2023.

  2. Pilferage – Pilferage or leakage occurs when only part of the shipment is stolen. A few boxes could be stolen, or the thieves could open a box, remove some items, and reseal the box. With this type of theft, the driver may not even realize they’ve been robbed.

  3. Grab and Go – With the grab-and-go method, criminals follow a shipment until the driver pulls into a truck stop or restaurant. When the driver leaves the vehicle, the thieves steal as much merchandise as possible. The grab-and-go method is most often used to steal high-value or high-tech cargo.

13 Truck Driver Tips to Minimize the Risk of Cargo Theft

  1. Stay alert by paying attention to your surroundings (especially at night), watching for occupied vehicles in parking lots, distribution centers, etc., watching for anyone following you, and being aware and looking for possible hijacking ploys.

  2. Try to keep an eye on the truck at all times, but if you need to leave it unattended, only do so for short periods.

  3. Park in safe, secure truck parking lots with good lighting and 24/7 security whenever possible.

  4. Subscribe to a reporting service that monitors area thefts., such as FreightWatch or CargoNet.

  5. Frequently communicate with your company and all members of the supply chain.

  6. Screen drivers to avoid entrusting your cargo to dishonest and untrustworthy drivers.

  7. Use technology, such as hidden GPS trackers in the shipment, intelligent routing, advanced locking technologies, etc.

  8. Preplan Your Route to help you identify safe places to stop and high-theft areas to avoid.

  9. Vary Your Route so you don’t become predictable.

  10. Arrive at the pickup location fully rested, fueled, and fed because it’s less likely that a thief will follow you for several hours.

  11. If picking up a loaded, sealed trailer, check that the seal number on the trailer and bill of lading match.

  12. Keep information, such as the license plate number, container number, and truck description, with you at all times.

  13. Don’t share information about cargo or trip details on social media, the radio, etc.

How to Get Affordable Commercial Truck Insurance

The right insurance helps protect your business from the loss resulting from cargo theft, injuries, damage, liability, etc. At American Insuring Group, our experienced agents help you get the right trucking insurance coverage at the lowest cost by comparing multiple competing insurance providers.

Call us today to start saving: (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance

Safe Truck Driving in Any Weather

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 09, 2023

Safe truck driving can save on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Erie, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, State College, and anywhere in PA and surrounding states.Knowing how to prepare for and drive in any weather is crucial to lowering Commercial Truck Insurance costs. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), “On average, there are over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes - nearly 1,235,000 - are weather-related.”

Bad weather comes in many forms – rain, snow, sleet, fog, wind, etc.; however, any can affect driver capability, vehicle performance, visibility, pavement friction, traffic flow, and more. Approximately 70% of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement. Rain causes 46%, snow and sleet cause 18%, icy pavements cause 13%, and fog causes 3% of weather-related crashes, according to the FHWA.

Tips for Safe Driving in Any Weather

Monitor the Weather

Always know what type of weather is predicted and monitor weather conditions, as they can frequently change. This way, you can prepare for whatever comes your way without being caught off guard.

Inspect Your Truck

A pre-trip inspection checklist is crucial (and is the law for CDL vehicles) to your safety at any time, but it is particularly vital in bad weather. According to Smart Trucking, the minimum DOT Pre-Trip Inspection requirements include the following:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

Prepare Your Truck

In addition to the pre-trip inspection, take steps to prepare your truck if you know there is a good chance that you are heading into bad weather. For example, chains for your tires, anti-gel for your fuel tank, balancing the load correctly, etc., can decrease the risk of accidents or other issues in treacherous weather.

Watch Your Speed

“The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 23 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were traveling too fast for conditions,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA recommends that you “reduce your speed by 1/3 on wet roads and by 1/2 or more on snow-packed roads (i.e., if you would normally be traveling at a speed of 60 mph on dry pavement, then on a wet road, you should reduce your speed to 40 mph, and on a snow-packed road you should reduce your speed to 30 mph).”

Allow for Adequate Stopping Distance

“The average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph (in ideal conditions) is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for a passenger vehicle,” according to the FMCSA. On slippery surfaces, a truck needs even more stopping distance. Therefore, to avoid collisions, you must adjust the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you based on weather conditions, road conditions, visibility, and traffic.

Improve Visibility

Rain, fog, snow, etc., can significantly decrease visibility. Do what you can to improve visibility and ensure other drivers can see you by clearing your windshield and windshield wipers, cleaning off and turning on your headlights, etc. Blind spots are always a concern for truck drivers, but bad weather conditions can make it even harder to see vehicles in your blind spots. Therefore, be even more careful when changing lanes in poor visibility.

Carry a Survival Kit

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst! A survival kit can help keep you safe and/or get you back on the road. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to survival kits. Think about emergencies you may run into, and consider what you or your truck may need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Nonperishable Food
  • Bottles of water
  • Extra clothing
  • Winter clothing, such as hats, gloves, etc.
  • Blankets
  • Medication
  • Warning flag
  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ice cleats
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Safety vest
  • Cash
  • Wheel chocks

How to Save More on Truck Insurance

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. We carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business and match you up with the best trucking insurance policy by carefully analyzing many competing insurance companies.

The result? You get high-quality Commercial Truck Insurance coverage at a very affordable price. Get a free quote today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Winter Driving Tips

Driver Fatigue and Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 11, 2023

Avoid driver fatigue and save on commercial truck insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and throughout PennsylvaniaDriver fatigue could be costing your company higher Commercial Truck Insurance costs and so much more. Why? Because fatigued drivers mean more accidents (see below), and the average cost of a large truck crash with a fatality is $3.6 million, and a crash with injuries is $200,000, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

So, if you want to lower Truck Insurance and other administrative costs, retain good drivers, and make our roads safer for everyone, you need to address the issue of fatigue with your drivers.

What is Fatigue?

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “Fatigue describes the feelings of tiredness, sleepiness, reduced energy, and increased effort needed to perform tasks at a desired level.”

“In addition to the dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel, drowsiness has serious effects on a driver’s attention, judgment, decision-making, coordination, vigilance, and reaction time,” according to the Sleep Foundation. “Drowsy drivers may find themselves weaving back and forth between lanes. They may have trouble maintaining the right speed and keeping an appropriate distance from other vehicles and may be unable to react in time to avoid an obstacle. A significant proportion of drowsy driving accidents involve a single driver driving off the road or into another lane at high speed.”

Statistics on Driver Fatigue

If you don’t believe driver fatigue is an issue, consider the following statistics:

  • According to the Truck Safety Coalition, 65% of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving, and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
  • According to Fatigue Science, the principal cause of 13-40% of trucking accidents is fatigue.
  • “In the United States alone each year, there are approximately 100,000 fatigue-related motoring accidents per year, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 800 tragic, largely preventable deaths,” Fatigue Science states.
  • Fatigue Science states, “The total cost of trucking accidents involving driver fatigue is approximately $20 billion per year. This includes costs such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.”

Causes of Driver Fatigue

Time of Day – According to the NSC, “People are physiologically programmed to sleep at night and be awake and active during the day.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that drowsy driving crashes typically occur at night or early morning.

Driving Long Hours – Our ability to focus on a task is limited. Driving for long periods can cause fatigue and affect performance.

Sleep Deprivation Experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Not getting enough sleep can cause a lack of alertness, excessive daytime sleepiness, impaired memory, and more.

Sleep Disorders – The Sleep Foundation reports50 million to 70 million people have ongoing sleep disorders. The most common among them are insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.” Sleep disorders cause daytime impairment in functioning and more.

Medications – Many medications - such as antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure, and anti-anxiety medications - can make you drowsy and impair your ability to drive safely.

Lifestyle Factors – Certain lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc., can contribute to fatigue.

Medical Conditions –Lyme disease, HIV, heart disease, emphysema, depression, MS, Type 2 diabetes, and more can contribute to fatigue. 

Tips to Minimize Driver Fatigue

  • Get enough sleep
  • Get screened for sleeping disorders
  • Try not to drive for more than eight to ten hours a day
  • Take regular breaks every two hours
  • Eat healthy and avoid heavy meals and fatty foods that can make you feel drowsy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that make you drowsy
  • Avoid driving between 12 and 6 am and between 2 and 4 pm if possible
  • Maintain good posture
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take a nap if possible. Even ten minutes can make a difference.
  • Recognize the signs of fatigue – headache, blurred vision, frequent yawning, etc.
  • Don’t rely on “tricks,” such as turning on loud music, smoking, or opening the windows, which may give you a temporary boost but won’t fight fatigue in the long run.

Lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Understanding and minimizing the risk of driver fatigue will help reduce the risk of accidents and help lower Commercial Truck Insurance and other costs. Another way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We compare rates among competing insurance providers to get you the right policy at the best price.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips

5 Surprising Tips to Lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 14, 2023

Contact us to save on trucking insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.Your Commercial Truck Insurance premium is based on your level of risk. In other words, insurance companies want to know the likelihood that you will have an accident, injury, lawsuit, etc., and make an insurance claim. To determine your level of risk, they look at several factors – your drivers, your vehicles, where you drive, etc. – to determine how likely you are to make a claim. The lower the risk, the lower the premium.

You can take many obvious steps to lower truck insurance costs, such as driver safety training, increasing your deductible, bundling policies, etc. Still, there are also a few ways that may surprise you.

5 Surprising Tips to Lower Commercial Truck Insurance

1. Maintain Good Credit:
In addition to the obvious factors, such as previous claims, insurance companies also consider how you conduct your business. Although controversial, many consider companies with good credit to be responsible and less risky.

“An insurance score, also known as an insurance credit score, is a rating computed and used by insurance companies that represents the probability of an individual filing an insurance claim while under coverage. The score is based on the individual’s credit rating and will affect the premiums they pay for the coverage,” Investopedia explains. “Low scores reflect higher risk, so a high score will result in lower insurance premiums. Conversely, a low score will result in higher premiums.”

2. Pay Your Bill Promptly:
Insurance companies don’t want to waste resources by sending out late reminders. Being consistently late with payments won’t help lower your insurance premiums. Furthermore, if you make a claim while you are delinquent on payments, you may have a battle collecting on the claim. Always pay your insurance bill on time, or consider setting up automatic withdrawals. Or even better, pay your bill in full to enjoy even more savings.

3. Maintain a Clean DOT Safety Rating:
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – the granter of your safety rating, “A safety rating is an evaluation of a motor carrier’s compliance with the safety fitness standard.” Your rating may be Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. “Your DOT safety rating is a critical company asset that must be protected at all costs,” Trucksafe Consulting explains. “Failing to do so can result in increased insurance costs, lost business, and even a company-wide out-of-service order.”

4. Hire Safe Drivers:
Your drivers can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Unsafe drivers increase operating costs (including insurance premiums), increase turnover rates, and can damage your business reputation. Data shows that “the best drivers can reduce costs by more than 12%, but the worst drivers can increase costs by more than 13%.” 

Tips for Hiring Safe Drivers

  • Hire experienced drivers
  • Review motor vehicle records
  • Contact previous employees
  • Review DOT Safety performance
  • Conduct pre-employment drug testing
  • Require a road test
  • Keep detailed records

5. Choose the Right Commercial Truck Insurance Agent

An experienced insurance agent specializing in Commercial Truck Insurance can help ensure that you get the right insurance, that you aren’t paying for insurance you don’t need, and that there are no gaps in your coverage. An independent insurance agent will check with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium.

Lower Your Commercial Truck Insurance Rate

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. We carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business. We match you up with the best trucking insurance policy based on a careful analysis of many competing insurance companies.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance

10 Tips to Increase Pedestrian Safety for Commercial Truck Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 16, 2023

Improve Pedestrian Safety in Trucking and Save On Truck Insurance in Allentown, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania.We focus a great deal of time on safety to lower Truck Insurance because, as you know, accidents involving heavy trucks typically have serious consequences. And the more accidents and resulting insurance claims you file, the higher your insurance premiums.

One of the most vulnerable groups on the road is pedestrians, who have no protection when an accident occurs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 7,388 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2021 – a 13% increase from 2020 – and more than 60,000 pedestrians were injured. Therefore, pedestrian safety should be a part of any driver training.

10 tips to increase pedestrian safety for Commercial Truck Drivers

  1. Start Safe
    Before you begin driving, check your vehicle, clean headlights, windshield, windows, and mirrors, adjust the seat and mirrors, know your route, and identify areas you are more likely to encounter pedestrians.

  2. Eliminate Distractions
    “71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck,” according to the NHTSA. “Staying focused on driving can help keep you, and other road users, safe on the road!” They recommend the following tips:
  • Don’t text while driving
  • Don’t use a dispatching device while driving
  • Don’t dial a handheld phone while driving
  • Don’t read, write, or use paper maps while driving
  • Avoid eating and drinking when driving
  • Don’t let objects outside of your truck distract you

  1. Be Vigilant
    Constantly scan for pedestrians on the street, sidewalks, exiting vehicles, etc., especially in congested areas or areas where pedestrians are more likely to be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, on roadway locations away from intersections (where higher speeds might occur), and at night.”

  2. Be Patient
    We understand that you have deadlines you need to meet. However, an accident will only delay you more, so be patient with pedestrians, especially older adults or those with disabilities.

  3. Assume Pedestrians Are Unaware of Truck Blind Spots
    You know where your blind spots are, but you may be surprised how many pedestrians do not. Many pedestrians also don’t know how your trailer will behave when you make a turn. Assume that pedestrians will not know to avoid risk areas and blind spots.

  4. Consider Driving Conditions
    Weather and road conditions can affect how quickly you can stop. Poor lighting or a nasty storm can make it harder to see pedestrians. Use extra caution and reduce your speed when driving conditions are less than optimal.

  5. Exercise Extra Care at Intersections
    Scan several times for pedestrians as they are sometimes easy to miss. Slow down as you approach an intersection, and be prepared to come to a complete stop. Make eye contact with pedestrians and give them the right of way.

  6. Don’t Block Crosswalks
    Whether the crosswalks are marked or not, going around your vehicle can put pedestrians in the path of moving traffic.

  7. Notice Distracted Pedestrians
    Just like drivers, pedestrians can easily be distracted. Watch for pedestrians using handheld devices, wearing headphones, with children, etc. They may walk slower, ignore traffic, be unaware of hazards, etc.

  8. Remember – You are the Best Line of Defense
    Driver error is the cause of many large truck accidents. Therefore, as the driver, you are the best line of defense when it comes to protecting pedestrians.

Lower Your Truck Insurance Costs

Minimizing accidents and the resulting claims is just one way to lower Truck Insurance costs. American Insuring Group specializes in Truck Insurance, so we can ensure you have the right coverage at the best price. As independent agents, they will compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance carriers to ensure you pay the lowest premium.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Commercial Auto Insurance

How to Hire Safe Truck Drivers: 8 Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 12, 2023

Hire Safe Truck Drivers and Save on Trucking Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, York, and throughout PA.One way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance and other operating costs is to minimize risks. One way to minimize risk is to hire safe drivers. You’ve probably heard the adage that goes something like this: “Employees can be your most valuable asset… your competitive advantage.” Most business owners/managers would agree, but many would add that employees can also be your greatest liability.

However, the ongoing shortage of drivers is probably creating additional challenges when it comes to hiring employees who become valuable assets rather than your greatest liability. The good news is that according to experts, “The number of unfilled driver jobs slid to nearly 78,000, down about 4% from a record 81,258 in 2021.” The bad news is that slight improvement is expected to be temporary, which may have you thinking that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. NOT at the expense of your business! Hiring the safest drivers available is crucial to your business’s success.

Unsafe drivers increase operating costs, increase turnover rates, and can damage your business reputation. Data shows that “the best drivers can reduce costs by more than 12%, but the worst drivers can increase costs by more than 13%.” Taking the time now to evaluate candidates and hire the best drivers available to lower costs and minimize additional headaches down the road makes good business sense.

8 Tips for Hiring Safe Drivers

  1. Set Standards – Set specific standards, such as the minimum number of driving years required, the maximum number of moving violations, etc.

  2. Create a Culture of SafetyA safety culture is “an [organizational] culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes—and these are shared by the majority of people within the company or workplace. It can be [characterized] as ‘the way we do things around here.’ A positive safety culture can result in improved workplace health and safety (WHS) and [organizational] performance.”

  3. Review Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) – An MVR will include basic information, the candidate’s driver’s license number, their license classifications, and their license status. It will also disclose any traffic citations, license suspensions, DUI convictions, and accident reports. Drivers with serious moving violations or accidents on their record may not be good candidates.

  4. Contact Previous Employers – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that “you verify an applicant’s safety performance history with their past employers for at least the past three years.” Plus, this simple step can save headaches and costs down the road.

  5. Review DOT Safety Performance - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) allows you to obtain a 3-year history of an applicant’s DOT inspection and violation history and a 5-year history of DOT-recordable crashes for a nominal fee.

  6. Conduct a Pre-Employment Drug Testing – Instituting a pre-employment drug testing program can help keep unsafe drivers off the road.

  7. Require a Road Test – A driving test is one of the best ways to discover a driver’s temperament, driving skills, and how safe a driver they will be.

  8. Document – Keeping detailed records can help provide a complete picture of an applicant’s qualifications, making it easier to compare candidates. Furthermore, the DOT requires that you maintain a driver qualification file for all employees who operate a commercial vehicle that includes information such as your inquiry to previous employers, inquiry to state agencies, inquiry about drug and alcohol tests, etc.

Call for a Truck Insurance Quote Today!

American Insuring Group specializes in Truck Insurance, and as independent agents, we compare the cost of your insurance among multiple carriers to ensure you pay the lowest premium.

Call (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for a FREE QUOTE or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Commercial Auto Insurance

Optimal Seating Position for Truckers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 15, 2023

Proper Seating Position Can Help You Save on Truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York, and throughout Pennsylvania.When we think of ways to lower the number of claims to reduce Commercial Truck Insurance costs, most people probably think about minimizing the risk of accidents. This makes sense because trucks are bigger, which means it takes them longer to stop and can cause more damage than a passenger vehicle.

However, another hazard truck drivers face isn’t so obvious – the long hours they spend sitting in tiring, restrictive, or uncomfortable postures. “Researchers have associated sedentary behavior with approximately 35 chronic diseases and conditions,” according to Truckers News. Chronic conditions include obesity, sleep apnea, poor circulation, accelerated biological aging, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and peripheral artery disease.

A National Library of Medicine (NLM) study of long-haul truck drivers found that 69% of respondents were classified as obese, which increases the risk for many severe health conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, many types of cancers, mental illness, body pain, and low quality of life.

Another NLM study found that 78.6% of truck drivers have musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). “Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are soft-tissue injuries caused by sudden or sustained exposure to repetitive motion, force, vibration, and awkward positions,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. “These disorders can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and cartilage in your upper and lower limbs, neck, and lower back.“

Optimal Seating Position

Understanding the optimal seating position can help alleviate many health issues by decreasing strain on various body parts. Plus, it can increase driver comfort, increase safety in a vehicle accident, and optimize the visibility of the vehicle controls while driving.

Experts recommend these steps to adjust your seat optimally:

  • Step 1: Using the forward and reverse seat controls, adjust your seat so your knees are slightly bent. A two-finger gap should exist between the back of your knee and the seat.
  • Step 2: Raise the seat until your hips are level with your knees.
  • Step 3: Adjust the backrest so that your back is at a 100-degree angle.
  • Step 4: Adjust the headrest so that it is centered with the back of your head.
  • Step 5: Adjust the lumbar support control so that it fits in the curve of your lower back

Experts recommend these tips to sit in your seat optimally:

  • Sit with your body the whole way back in your seat.
  • Hold the steering wheel in the “9 and 3” position. Driving with two hands is safer and causes less strain on the spine.
  • Keep your left foot on the footrest as much as possible. This helps minimize strain on the back and pelvis.
  • Adjust the seat belt so that it wraps around your pelvis area and not your stomach. This will ensure the most protection in the event of an accident.

Regular breaks and stretching are another critical step in alleviating many health consequences of long-haul driving. The rule of thumb is to take a 15-minute break for every two hours on the road.

Stretching before, during, and after a trip and during regular workouts can also help. “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints,” according to the Harvard Medical School. “Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”

Lower Your Commercial Truck Insurance Cost

American Insuring Group is committed to providing affordable commercial truck insurance. As Truck Insurance experts and independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among multiple insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for the right coverage.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Repetitive Motion Injuries, Commercial Auto Insurance

How to Stretch Your Truck Insurance Dollars

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 10, 2023

Save by stretching your truck insurance value in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and throughout PAWhen we think about factors that increase Commercial Truck Insurance costs, we often think about accidents. And, yes, preventing accidents should be a priority if you want to lower insurance costs. Still, there is another often-forgotten factor that can also increase truck insurance costs – drivers being sedentary and staying in one position for hours on end.

Not many jobs are more sedentary than driving a truck, and sitting in one position can cause several issues, from stiff muscles to back pain and more. In fact, the National Library of Medicine reports, “The prevalence of low back pain in truck drivers was 59%.”

One simple solution can help reduce the frequency of these issues - stretching before, during, and after a trip and during regular workouts. “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints,” according to the Harvard Medical School. “Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”

6 Stretching Tips for Truck Drivers

Before beginning any workout routine – including stretching, it’s always best to consult with a physician. Here are six tips to keep in mind.

  1. Avoid stretching cold muscles
  2. Understand the difference between dynamic and static stretching
  3. Stretch your whole body
  4. Breathe with your stretches
  5. Stretches should not be painful
  6. Hold your static stretches

And remember, it may have taken you months or even years to get to the point you’re at now, so don’t expect one five-minute stretching workout to work miracles. You need to continue to stretch regularly over time to achieve flexibility, relieve tension, reduce fatigue, and improve your posture. In addition, you need to continue stretching to maintain the benefits achieved.

17 Stretches for Truck Drivers

Once you’ve consulted with your physician, the following stretches can be done before you begin driving, during breaks, after you’re done driving, or during your regular workout. Hold each stretch for five to thirty seconds and do five reps at a time. If you don’t have time to do all the stretches, focus on the areas that feel the tightest.

Click here for detailed instructions and a video demonstrating each stretch.

            LEG STRETCHES

  1. Toe Raises
  2. Hamstring Stretch
  3. Calf Stretch
  4. Thigh Stretch

       BACK STRETCHES

  1. Back Extension
  2. Knees to Chest Stretch

SHOULDER STRETCHES

  1. Simmer’s Stretch
  2. Stretch Across
  3. Butterfly Stretch
  4. Reach for the Sky

NECK STRETCHES

  1. Chin Tuck
  2. Upper Trap Stretch

ELBOW STRETCH

  1. Triceps Stretch

HAND STRETCHES

  1. Open/Closed Fist
  2. Thumb Stretch
  3. Wrist Flexion/Extension
  4. Prayer Stretch

And remember, these stretches should not cause pain. If you feel pain, you may be stretching too deeply or too soon. If you feel pain, ease off the stretch and keep stretching without pushing the muscle too hard. Over time, as you become more flexible, you should be able to stretch more deeply without feeling pain.

Get Affordable Commercial Truck Insurance

American Insuring Group is committed to providing affordable truck insurance. We analyze your specific risks and needs and provide savings and safety tips (like the stretching information in this blog). Furthermore, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for the right coverage.

▸ Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Commercial Auto Insurance

Trucking Insurance Facts for Independent Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 13, 2023

Contact us for Trucking Insurance for independent drivers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York and throughout PAIf you are or are planning to become an independent owner-operator, you must ensure that you have the right Commercial Truck Insurance coverage. One serious accident without proper insurance can put you out of business. On the other hand, paying for coverage you don't need can seriously affect your bottom line.

You're probably busy, and insurance can be complicated, so it may be tempting to pass the job of getting insurance onto someone else, like your broker or carrier. But no one else has as much invested in the success of your business or knows your specific needs as well as you do. Therefore, you must be informed and knowledgeable about insurance to ensure you get the coverage best suited to your unique needs.

What Type of Insurance is Available to Independent Drivers?

There are several types of insurance coverage that you may need as an independent driver. Of course, you probably do not need all of them, but it's important to consider potential risks and available insurance protection:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance protects you if you are liable for property damage. The Insurance Information Institute states, "CGL coverage is one of the most important insurance products due to the negative impact that a lawsuit can have on a business and because such liability suits happen so frequently."
  • Cargo Insurance protects against loss from legal liability for damage to goods or merchandise in your care and custody while in transit. It also provides coverage for things like debris removal and refrigeration breakdown.
  • Trailer Interchange Insurance covers the insured's legal liability for damage to the trailers of others.
  • Physical Damage Insurance typically insures your truck against damages from collisions, vandalism, fire, and theft. Most lenders require that you have this type of insurance.
  • Non-Trucking Coverage is for those things that are not directly related to the trucking operation. For example, this coverage would include an occupational accident for the truckers and insurance for trucks that drive without cargo (i.e., the cargo has been delivered, and the truck is coming back empty).
  • Passenger Accident Insurance covers the cost of medical expenses or accidental death to passengers in your vehicle who are not employees.
  • Bob Tail Insurance ) is a liability insurance that provides coverage when operating a truck without an attached trailer or semitrailer.

What Affects the Cost of Truck Insurance for Independent Drivers?

Understanding the factors that affect the cost of your insurance can help lower your premiums. Here are some things that affect the price of truck insurance for independent drivers:

  • Experience – Some insurance companies require a minimum of three years of CDL experience before they will even issue you a policy.
  • Your Driving Record – The better your driving record – the fewer accidents and violations - the lower your insurance premiums.
  • Cargo You're Hauling – Some types of cargo are more susceptible to theft or damage, which will increase insurance costs. And high-value cargo is also more expensive to insure.
  • The Type, Age, and Condition of Your Truck – Larger and heavier trucks are more prone to accidents and can cause more damage, so that insurance may be higher. In addition, a truck with a higher price tag will also be more expensive to insure. However, safety features can lower the cost of insurance.
  • Location – Some states require more insurance coverage than others. Plus, the more miles you need to travel also affects the cost of insurance, and some routes are considered more hazardous due to weather conditions, population, etc.
  • Deductible – Your deductible is the amount of money you will be required to pay before your insurance kicks in when you make a claim. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. But you need to ensure that you have enough funds to cover the deductible if you need to make a claim.
  • Payment Plan – If you can pay the premium in full – rather than in several payments - many insurance companies will offer a discount.

How to Get the Right Trucking Insurance for Your Needs

To get the right coverage and the lowest cost, talk to one of the agents at American Insuring Group. We specialize in truck insurance and we know your unique challenges and needs. Furthermore, as independent agents, we compare coverage and premiums among many insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for quality insurance protection.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance