The Roadcheck is Over – Now What?

By the time you read this post, the 2019 CVSA Roadcheck will be in the record books. Trucks throughout North America will have been inspected by CVSA, federal, and state police officials in an attempt to remind drivers of their responsibilities toward road safety. We will not know until later this year how well the industry did when compared to 2018. But now that the Roadcheck is over for another year, what’s next?

As important as the annual Roadcheck is, there is a hidden danger to doing it every year: complacency. Every year we see blog posts, news articles, and even training seminars in the months leading up to the event. These are all very good things. However, all the attention paid to road safety during those months seems to suddenly disappear at the end of June.

Cargo Control Year-Round

Experienced truck drivers know that the emphasis of the Roadcheck changes every year. In 2018, inspectors focused heavily on electronic logging. The big emphasis this year is steering and suspension. However, inspectors are not limited to the Roadcheck’s annual focus. They still give trucks and drivers a thorough review in every respect.

Given that Mytee Products specializes in cargo control, that is what we tend to put our efforts into when we educate drivers. That’s where we go from here. In other words, we will continue educating truck drivers and motor carriers about proper cargo control even though Roadcheck 2019 is now in the rear-view mirror.

Proper cargo control is a year-round enterprise. It does not begin and end with the CVSA’s Roadcheck. In fact, we believe giving the proper amount of attention to cargo control eliminates the need to be extra diligent during the first week of June. If a truck driver is diligent about cargo control throughout the entire year, the week of the annual Roadcheck will not be anything unusual.

Know Your Equipment

If you are a truck driver, your first task moving forward is to know your equipment. Understand exactly what kinds of equipment you need to properly secure your loads. Educate yourself about things like working load limits, lateral and horizontal movement, federal cargo control rules, and so forth.

Also make a point of regularly inspecting your equipment to make sure it is in good working condition. It only takes one frayed webbing strap or a rusting chain to create a precarious situation. Check everything from your ratchets to your hooks and turnbuckles.

When something does show that first sign of wear, do not play games. Either get it repaired or replace it. The last thing a truck driver needs is to be caught off guard with a piece of broken equipment and no replacement. And should that one piece of equipment lead to an accident, dire consequences could follow.

Fully Stock Your Truck

The approach of summer means weather that is a lot less threatening to truck cargo. This is the time of year when you are not worrying as much about heavy winds and the damage ice and snow can cause. So this is also an appropriate time of year to check your inventory. Summer is the ideal time to fully stock your truck with tarps, straps, chains, edge protectors, and so forth.

Hopefully the numbers will look good when the CVSA releases them later this year. Hopefully, America’s truck drivers did better in 2019 than they did in 2018. Let us all work together to do even better in 2020. The more we can do to improve safety within the trucking industry, the safer all of our highways will be.


3 Reasons Aluminum is a Great Choice for Truck Toolboxes

Mytee Products carries a range of aluminum toolboxes for both tractors and trailers. Aluminum is the material of choice for a lot of truckers as it has a number of benefits over steel. This is not to say that a stainless-steel toolbox is a bad investment. It’s not. In fact, a shiny stainless-steel toolbox can be key to winning a truck show. But for everyday use over the road, it is hard to beat aluminum.

Note that we carry both aluminum and steel toolboxes and headache racks. If you ever have questions about any of our products, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want you to be happy with anything you decide to purchase from Mytee Products.

1. Aluminum Has Malleability

Steel is definitely stronger than aluminum, which is why some truck drivers prefer the material for their toolboxes and headache racks. But aluminum has an advantage in that it is more malleable. In other words, it is more flexible than steel. It absorbs energy more effectively too.

How is this an advantage? In an accident, aluminum it is more likely to flex and bend than steel. This means it is less likely to break apart. You will also find it easier to bang out any dents after the accident. As for steel, it is more likely to crack or break at the seams. If a steel toolbox is dented, it is a lot harder to get those dents out.

As a side note, the malleability of aluminum makes it easier for fabricators to create toolboxes with unique shapes. Simply put, aluminum is easier to work with. You may find aluminum is a better choice if you need a custom toolbox with a nonuniform shape or size.

2. Aluminum is Lighter

Another advantage of aluminum is that it is lighter than steel. The difference in weight between the two metals may not be significant in terms of how much your truck can carry, but it might become important if you are trying to save every ounce so that you can carry heavier loads. Steel is heavier as well as being almost 2.5 times more dense.

If you are interested in raw numbers, a cubic foot of aluminum weighs in at just over 168 pounds. That same amount of stainless-steel weighs in at just over 494 pounds. That is more than twice the weight. When you are trying to keep the weight on your trailer down, choosing aluminum over steel for toolboxes could make an enormous difference.

3. Aluminum Will Not Rust

Aluminum’s biggest advantage as a toolbox material is the fact that it will not rust. Steel is corrosion resistant when treated, but it is still going to rust over time. That’s one of the reasons truckers who love stainless steel bumpers, headache racks, and toolboxes spend so much time caring for them.

A curious thing about aluminum is that it naturally oxidizes in open air. The oxidation process causes a slight film to build up over the surface of the metal. That film actually prevents rust. It is the same film that protects the bottom of aluminum canoes and rowboats. It is the same film that prevents a house covered in aluminum from rusting.

As previously stated, some of our customers prefer steel toolboxes and headache racks. That’s great. But if you prefer aluminum, we have a good selection of products for you to choose from. Aluminum is an ideal choice for truck toolboxes because it is malleable, it is lighter than steel, and it absolutely will not rust.


Why Are Only Some Loads Tarped

The sales staff at Mytee Products have the privilege of welcoming brand-new flatbed truckers to the industry by way of helping them figure out what kinds of cargo control supplies they need to keep on board. In so doing, it is not unusual for us to have conversations about the different kinds of truck tarps in our inventory. That leads to discussions about why some loads are tarped and others are not.

Needless to say that our tarp inventory is not limited to just one kind of tarp. We carry a full range of tarps for flatbeds including steel, lumber, coil, machinery, and smoke tarps. We also carry roll tarps for dump trucks and complete site kits. Anything that a new trucker could need we have.

With that said, you might be curious as to why some loads are tarped and others are not. Here is the whole story in four points:

1. The Type of Load

While it is technically possible to throw a tarp over any kind of load on an open-deck trailer, using a tarp is not always necessary. The truth is that some loads just do not need to be covered. For example, consider a load of cinder blocks. Unless there is some special circumstance dictated by the shipper, those blocks will make it clear across the country without needing to be covered.

On the other hand, there are certain loads that have to be covered every time. Industrial machinery is a good example. Things like multi-million-dollar CNC machines are covered during transport for obvious reasons.

2. Federal and State Regulations

Tarping is sometimes dictated by regulations. If you drive a dump truck, you know exactly what we mean here. Laws in all 50 states require that loose materials being transported in a dump truck be prevented from flying off in transit. While some states leave the decision of how to accomplish this to drivers, other states mandate tarps as the only method of load containment.

3. Shipper Requirements

There are times when tarping a load is dictated by the shipper. Despite the fact that truck drivers are ultimately responsible for protecting cargo, some shippers take it upon themselves to make sure their cargo is protected in a very specific way. They take no chances. As far as truck drivers are concerned, there is really nothing they can do when shippers make such demands.

Shippers know that the legal responsibility to protect cargo resides with drivers. All the same, they are reluctant to use drivers who resist their tarping demands. If they want tarps used, a driver either acquiesces or takes the chance of never getting another load from that shipper again.

4. Driver Preferences

Tarping can even be the preference of the driver. We have known some truck drivers who refuse to use tarps except when they are absolutely necessary. Yet we have also known drivers who would never think about transporting anything without covering it first. Different drivers have their own preferences in nearly every aspect of cargo control.

What is curious to us is that drivers do not get paid for the time it takes to secure their loads. They only get paid when the wheels are turning. And yet, there are drivers that tarp everything. It doesn’t matter whether they are hauling expensive lumber, steel pipes, or concrete road barriers, everything gets tarped.

The big take-away here is that there really aren’t any rules for what loads get covered. Drivers have to assess each load independently alongside federal and state regulations, shipper requirements, and their own tarping preferences.