Archive for March, 2010


CSA 2010 Driver Fitness

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA’s new Carrier Safety Analysis 2010 has seven behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASIC’s.

One important BASIC is Driver Fitness, which actually has little to do with the health or well being of a driver. Instead, it focuses on what we know as Driver Qualifications DQ. This includes all of the documents necessary to hire a driver and perform back ground checks. Including annual updates to make sure a driver’s commercial license, medical card and training are all current.

The CSA 2010  BASIC Driver Fitness relates to a carrier’s behavior expected under Part 391 of the FMCSA regulations called Qualification of Drivers. For an outline of what is required in a DQ file click here.

Down the Road – Mike


OMG Look Up

A view from the outside of a vehicle who’s texting driver won’t ever drive and text again.


How to Beat Day Light Savings Time

So what can one do to counter act the loss of one hour when we spring forward into Day Light Savings Time?

Well hopefully you made it though Sunday without arriving late for church, work, or that 50 mile MS150 training ride. If so, that’s great, if not, well just wait for October and you’ll have the chance to arrive earlier than everyone else.

Either way here is what you can do tonight to help you awake feeling rested and ready for the day tomorrow. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal tonight. Then, tomorrow night 30 minutes earlier that the night before. Try this for two nights, then back to your regular schedule.

I started last night and it did seem to help. Tonight I’m going to try to go to bed an hour earlier than normal, if not, at least thirty minutes again. Let me know how it works out for you.

Down the Road – Mike


PHMSA on the Move in Texas

A number of changes have recently been made to the Hazardous Materials Security Plan requirements to clarify and enhance current security requirements, including requirements that apply to who needs a security plan and employee training.

In addition, PHMSA has had a busy month inspecting the hazmat security plans of petroleum distributors in Texas. This might be a good time to review your plan to make sure it covers all of the requirements.

PHMSA has strengthened the in-depth security training requirements to include specific actions and responsibilities of each employee in the event of a security breach (CFR49 Part 172.704). Recurrent training must be done every three years or whenever changes are made to the plan.

For the complete requirements go here. If you need assistance developing or revising a Hazardous Materials Security Plan let me know at or just comment if you have questions.

Down the Road – Mike


On the Road to Exercise

Health is important to all of us and when we are sick or just do not feel good it can affect every part of our lives. Whether we take action to live healthy lives is up to each individual’s commitment level. The number one suggestion made by health professionals on the path to good health, or to lose weight, is to exercise. Here are some simple suggestions for getting some exercise while on the road.

Commit to exercising 5 to 6 days a week for 20 minutes a day. Pick a time each day that works for you, but be a little flexible. I like to exercise when I get home from work, but sometimes I have to alter this and that may mean a 9:00pm jog. Are you committed?
If you travel be sure to pack your tennis shoes, shorts/sweats, Versastick and of course your MP3 player. Stay hydrated by drinking 2 to 3 8oz cups of water during the course of the day. Take a few minutes to stretch before and after you exercise. This can eliminate possible injury or soreness the next day.
If you are staying in a hotel that has a fitness center and you like to treadmill, great. I normally ask the hotel clerk at check-in if there are any parks or jogging trails in the area. Plan on exercising for at least 20 minutes.

I found this neat, easy to pack, strength exercise kit this week called Versastick.  It only weighs three pounds and looks like it can provide a nice strength or cardio workout. It’s not practical to carry dumbbells around when I travel and this looks like it might be a good alternative. If you have tried this out please let me know what you think of it.

Here is an in-room workout you can do in 20 minutes that uses a good combination of muscles.
Do 3 sets of 10 each Squats/Push Ups/Knee Raises.
To get the most out of this I recommend doing 10 squats, then 10 push up and then 10 knee raises one right after the other. Rest for one minute, then repeat the cycle 2 more times. You are not going to make any big gains with this workout, but it could be a good alternative to missing your commitment.

All you need is 20 minutes a day and a commitment. If you have not exercised for a while or have not had an annual physical please consult your doctor and let them know you are committing to an exercise program.
Down the Road – Mike


Off the Road Testing

A commercial driver has to maintain a medical card and pass a complete pyhsical at least every two years. I can see where it might be a challenge for drivers on the road to maintain good cadio health. One way that doctors use to test your heart health is by administering a stress test.


Yesterday I participated in my first Stress Test on a treadmill (or dreadmill as my wife calls it). This is a test used to examine how your heart responds exercise (stress).

I checked into North Cypress Medical Center at 12:10pm and the fun was over by 1:45pm. Not bad considering that nurse Paula had me all wired and ready to go, when, she got a call that a patient who had refused the test 20 minutes earlier, but had a change of heart (pun intended), decided to go ahead with the test and so she would get to go before me since her doctor was waiting. It was about 12:50pm when Paula apologitically started unhooking me and asked me to go sit in the waiting room.

Luckily the wait was only about 15 minutes. Paula hooked me up again and Dr. Wynn came in just in time to start the test. Starting BP was 108/70 and heart rate 54. Oh, and the reason that I’m here, my family physician had concerns on my EKG last month about my resting heart rate of 52 to 54.  Which I didn’t completely understand since Lance Armstrong’s resting rate is 34. Although,  for most people the 60 to 70 range is considered average.

Where were we? Oh yeh, so the treadmill starts on about a 3% incline at a walking pace, maybe a level 3.5 to 4 speed. Then every three minutes it increases the speed up a notch. The Doctor’s goal was for me to reach 85% of my maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus my age. So I need to reach a heart rate of 142. Do the math.

On my third 3-minute cycle I was at a nice jogging speed. About the middle of my fifth cycle I reached 145 and the doctor said that if I felt comfortable he’d like me to continue. So I did. The cycle ended with my heart rate at 158. Enough.

The final outcome was that Dr. Wynn said that my heart responded perfectly normal. This is what I had expected since I typically workout three to four times a week. Though my routine sometimes lapses depending on my schedule, the past few months have been pretty consistent.

If you have a hectic schedule, children at home, travel a lot or just cannot find time to exercise I will have some tips for you in my next post that might help you.

Down the Road – Mike

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